Google has today announced the Endangered Language Project, which aims to save languages that are on the verge of extinction. Google says that there are over 3,000 languages that need saving, and feels it’s important to document them to preserve cultural diversity while “honoring the knowledge of our elders and empowering our youth.” The project aims to give those interested in preserving the languages a place to store the necessary information.
A large number of contributors have already posted a diverse selection of content to the site, including 18th century manuscripts, and more modern teaching techniques using video and audio. It all makes use of Google’s various services including YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Groups.
The company played a large role in organizing the project but says it will take a step back and let others take over in the future, including the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and The Institute for Language Information and Technology at Eastern Michigan University. In addition to contributors, research will be shared by the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Eastern Michigan University as part of the Catalogue of Endangered Languages.