curated by screenwriter Karen Walton

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Posted on Monday February 20th 2012 at 10:02am. Its tags are listed below.

Digital tools 'to save languages'

I’d just seen a local Cree performer Tweet that she wanted help marking the correct accents for a thank-you message in Mohawk (Iroquois) and thought, how many following that thread might glimpse something quite extraordinary as a result.  Where else would her fans see this language written by its speakers, I wondered?   Did the kids get that she didn’t mean a talking hair cut? They would *now*.


“Small languages are using social media, YouTube, text messaging and various technologies to expand their voice and expand their presence,” said K David Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College and a National Geographic Fellow.

“It’s what I like to call the flipside of globalisation. We hear a lot about how globalisation exerts negative pressures on small cultures to assimilate. But a positive effect of globalisation is that you can have a language that is spoken by only five or 50 people in one remote location, and now through digital technology that language can achieve a global voice and a global audience.”

» via BBC