Did you know that only 50% of today’s languages will be spoken by the year 2100? Losing one language may not impact our daily lives right now, but it means the loss of a unique culture and way of communicating… forever! Thankfully, the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity and Google are making a collaborative effort to teach and preserve 3000+ endangered languages through the Endangered Languages Project.
The project is an online initiative to provide a space for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about endangered languages. Under the Knowledge Sharing tab on the site, you can listen to high-quality recordings and find ancient manuscripts of nearly-dead languages. There are also resources on how to properly record an interview and transcribe natural speech when conducting language research.
This is a great resource, not only for ESL teachers, but for ELA, Foreign Language, and Social Studies teachers as well. One lesson idea is that students can conduct a language documentation project of their own to submit, where they can interview classmates and relatives and transcribe and analyze their speech, the way a field researcher would do. Listening to other people speak is a great way for ELLs to improve fluency and this would be an authentic project for them to do.