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NYC - Lecture Series w/ K. David Harrison


Exploring the World’s Endangered Languages


The world's 7,000+ languages are in drastic decline, and most are predicted to vanish before they will be recorded or documented. Linguist and author K. David Harrison leads the National Geographic Society’s "Enduring Voices" project. He has spent the past decade interviewing speakers of some of the world's smallest and most endangered languages in remote locations in Siberia, India, Chile, Mongolia, Micronesia, the US and elsewhere. Results of research by him and his team include the first known recordings of several endangered languages, including Koro, a language spoken in India that is new to science.

In this presentation, Dr. Harrison describes the scientific and social consequences of language loss. Contrary to predictions of improved global commerce and communication, Dr. Harrison argues that language extinction leads to intellectual impoverishment in all fields of science and culture. Entire bodies of unwritten knowledge that have sustained us on this planet are eroding.

This talk also showcases the efforts of "language warriors" around the world. Concerted efforts to sustain, value and revitalize our linguistic diversity are now underway in indigenous communities worldwide, and may help to reverse the process. Small language communities are eager to cross the digital divide, and are leveraging technologies such as machine translation, texting and social media to sustain themselves. Video recordings of speakers of endangered languages will be shown to highlight the human factor in language survival.


Linguist K. David Harrison (right) with Koro speakers Abamu Degio (left) and Anthony Degio (center)
Photo by Jeremy Fahringer

Date: 02/24/2014

Time: 6:00pm Reception, 7:00pm Lecture

Location: NYC Headquarters, 46 E70th St., NY, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free to EC Student Members, $5 w/ valid student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are secured on a first come, first served basis.

To make a reservation, please call 212.628.8383
or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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