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  • Originally published 12/05/2013

    Smithsonian gets $1M to save endangered languages

    The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has received a $1 million grant to launch a long-term initiative to digitize and preserve recordings of endangered languages.

  • Originally published 08/02/2013

    Plan to teach Gaelic in every Scots primary school

    EVERY primary school pupil in Scotland should be taught Gaelic, according to the government agency responsible for developing the school curriculum and carrying out school inspections.Education Scotland has said Gaelic should be put at the centre of an ambitious plan to teach children two foreign languages at primary school. The Scottish Government is currently considering a new approach to language learning, which would see pupils introduced to a second language in P1, and a third no later than P5.This is known as the 1 + 2 Approach to language learning, meaning pupils are taught in their mother tongue and two additional languages.Publishing its Gaelic Education Plan yesterday, Education Scotland said it was important to recognise the language’s “valuable contribution to Scotland’s heritage” as well its status as an official language. The quango said it hoped to see Gaelic at the “heart” of language learning while also increasing the impact of Gaelic-medium bilingual education....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Te reo a 'poor cousin', tribunal told

    Te reo is an official language of New Zealand - but it's still treated as a poor cousin of English, the Waitangi Tribunal has been told.Kaumatua Erimana Taniora addressed the Tribunal yesterday about his hapu's loss of land and language as the third week of stage two hearings into Ngapuhi's Treaty claims got underway at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri. This week Whangaroa hapu are having their say....

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    American Indian tribes turn to technology in race to save endangered languages

    LAS VEGAS — In a windowless conference room in a Las Vegas casino, about three dozen people are swishing their fingers across iPads, trying out test versions of new apps and screening for glitches.But these are no Silicon Valley techies in town for one of the city’s massive electronics shows. Many are from far-flung American Indian reservations, and their high-tech devices are serving a decidedly old-school purpose: trying to save their languages from the brink of extinction.Experts say a growing number of tribes are trying to revitalize their languages, which in some cases are spoken by only a small handful of people. And increasingly, they’re enlisting technology in the effort....

  • Originally published 02/13/2013

    Ancient languages reconstructed by computer

    Researchers have created software that can rebuild protolanguages - the ancient tongues from which our modern languages evolved.To test the system, the team took 637 languages currently spoken in Asia and the Pacific and recreated the early language from which they descended.The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science....