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Alaska Beat

UAF teams with Google on new endangered languages website

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published June 22, 2012

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has teamed with Google to launch the Endangered Languages Project, a website packed with information about endangered languages.

UAF's Alaska Native Language Archive will contribute materials for the project, backed by a coalition of organizations under the umbrella of the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity. The project provides an online platform that will allow Alaska Native communities to access language documentation – while contributing to it.

"It's an amazing concept," said UAF information officer Marmiam Grimes. "It becomes mind-boggling to see how many languages are out there. Even in Alaska, there aren't hundreds – but there are a fair number of them."

The site will function like a moderated social platform. The public will have access to language data, audio, text and video samples, and bibliographic resources. Native language speakers will be able to use the site to share their languages, upload samples, comments, and communicate with each other. Community members and scholars can use the site to help preserve endangered languages.

"Our hope is (to) build the most complete and dynamic catalogue of endangered languages that can be used by communities to maintain their languages," Gary Holton, director of the Alaska Native Languages Archive, said in a press release.

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