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Google to help save vanishing languages

June 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 21 (UPI) -- Google has announced the launch of its Endangered Language Project, a Web site aimed at preserving ancient tongues only spoken by a few thousand people.

The search giant's philanthropic arm, Google.org, said the Web site would unite a number of smaller preservation efforts under the Endangered Language Project banner.

"Documenting the 3,000+ languages that are on the verge of extinction (about half of all languages in the world) is an important step in preserving cultural diversity, honoring the knowledge of our elders and empowering our youth," Google.org said in a release Thursday.

The Web site features videos and an interactive map, where visitors can click on any one of the dots that hang over each country, each representing a language.

"Documenting the 3,000+ languages that are on the verge of extinction is an important step in preserving cultural diversity," project managers Clara Rivera Rodriguez and Jason Rissman wrote on the Google.org site.

"By bridging independent efforts from around the world we hope to make an important advancement in confronting language endangerment," Rodriguez and Rissman wrote.

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