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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Evolution and Disappearance of Languages

This morning through Open Culture I learned about a neat TED-Ed lesson on the evolution of languages. Through the lesson students can learn about the difference between a dialect and a language, causes of linguistic divergence, and the types of words that are likely to be borrowed between languages. The video of the lesson is embedded below.


The TED-Ed lesson above reminded me of a couple of maps about the distribution and disappearance of languages around the world. National Geographic's Vanishing Voices is a languages hotspots map. The languages hotspots map is a heatmap of regions in which there are languages in danger of vanishing. You can click on the map to learn about the languages in danger in those regions.

The Endangered Languages Project map contains references to more than 3000 endangered languages. Click on the placemarks to find the names of languages, information about who speaks those languages, and the risk of those languages becoming extinct. The Endangered Languages Project is a collaborative project that invites contributions of language documentation in text and video form.