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Alum documents endangered languages in The Linguists

Gregory D. S. Anderson, PhD 2000, teams up with K. David Harrison of Swarthmore College in the documentary The Linguists, now available to view free on the video site Babelgum.

Of the 7,000 languages in the world, one disappears every two weeks. Anderson and Harrison do what they can to help: they document endangered languages by recording native speakers in an effort to preserve the centuries of wisdom the languages might hold. The Linguists follows the two researchers around the world from Siberia to India to Bolivia as they discover and document each language’s wealth of irreplaceable information. In an interview with Wired, Harrison said: “We found how little we know, and how vast human knowledge is. It is astonishing to encounter ancient systems of knowledge, in many cases more sophisticated than what science knows, for example, about the natural world, plants, fish, weather patterns, sea ice and landscapes.”

For more information on the research, visit the website of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, founded by Anderson and Harrison, and view The Linguists for free at Babelgum.

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