National Geographic - Learning

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Dr. K David Harrison

Half of the world’s languages are endangered and may go extinct in this century. The loss of these languages will have dire consequences not only for their speakers, but also for culture, science, and the environment. Around the world, speakers of endangered languages are mounting strategic efforts to save their languages. This presentation features photos and video clips of speakers of some of the world’s most endangered languages, from Siberia, India, the USA and other locations, and will demonstrate how indigenous speakers and linguists are working to sustain languages through technology and digital activism. Positive connections between ESL, higher education and language diversity will be explored.



K. David Harrison, PhD
Professor of Linguistics, Swarthmore College
Explorer, National Geographic Society

Anthropologist and linguist David Harrison documents endangered languages and cultures around the world. He has done extensive fieldwork with indigenous communities from Siberia and Mongolia to Peru, India, and Australia. He is widely recognized and consulted as a leading spokesman for endangered languages. His research is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film “The Linguists,” and has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, USA Today, and Science. David is Professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore College, and received his doctorate from Yale University. He is a National Geographic Explorer and his book, “The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World’s Most Endangered Languages,” was published by National Geographic Books.

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