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How many languages can you name off the top of your head? Now, how many languages do you think exist in the world right now? According to Ethnologue, there are approximately 7,105 living languages in the world today. If most people are only aware of a hundred or so languages (and if you made it that far in your head, we’re impressed!) should we care about the other 7,000? At Transparent Language, we certainly think so, and we’re doing something about it!
We’re very excited to announce the launch of the 7000 Languages Project, a new initiative created to support the world’s “other 7000 languages” often ignored by commercial interests, and to promote a linguistically richer future through the availability of high-quality resources in these languages. The 7000 Language Project expands upon our former Heritage and Endangered Languages Preservation Program (HELPP), which operated from 2009 to 2013. During that time, we partnered with schools and organizations interested in preserving and promoting a less commonly taught language. We worked extensively with BASABali, for example, to develop the first multimedia course materials for the teaching of Balinese, a collaborative effort that helped inspire the new 7000 Languages Project.
The Project will partner with other expert organizations that can manage and assist specialized language teams in the creation of linguistic content. The National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) became the first of such partners, known as a 7000 Language Project Facilitation Organization, as announced during the 2013 NCOLCTL Annual Conference in Chicago on April 26, 2013. To view the full presentation, visit Slideshare using the image below.
Partners, like NCOLCTL, will organize and support language teams of vetted language experts who can create reliable content in the “other” languages. Each Language Project Team will retain ownership of this content, while Transparent Language will retain ownership of the core technology that we donate for use in the project. The resulting materials will be distributed for use by the public as intended. Since there is no “one size fits all” approach to preserving and teaching languages, we are prepared to support a wide range of materials and services. We expect projects will range from basic survival vocabulary acquisition programs to highly-structured, LMS-tracked courses employing our full suite of interactive learning activities including alphabet lessons and social media integration.
“Transparent Language is committed to supporting all of the world’s languages. We are proud to announce the founding of the 7000 Languages Project and, with the help of NCOLCTL and individual Language Project Teams, we hope to preserve the under-resourced languages that might otherwise be left behind,” explains Michael Quinlan, CEO of Transparent Language, Inc.
To learn more about the 7000 Languages Project, visit: http://www.transparent.com/about/7000-languages-project.html.