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Monday, January 23, 2017

The Evolution and Disappearance of Languages

Last week I shared an interactive map of languages. That map is crowd-sourced and unfiltered which is why I recommended only using it to find recordings that you play for your students rather than letting them browse the map on their own. For interactive maps of languages spoken around the world, take a look at the following two resources.

The Endangered Languages Project map contains references to more than 3,000 endangered languages. Click on the placemarks on the map 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.

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. You will also find a talking dictionary linked to the language hotspots map.

TED-Ed has a neat 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.