The Lookout

Texting and rap songs may save endangered languages

Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News
The Lookout

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The scourge of grumpy old people everywhere may be the key to saving several near-extinct languages around the globe.

Linguist Samuel Herrera told The Sunshine Coast Daily that young people in Mexico and the Philippines are texting each other in local, endangered languages because they're drawn by the allure of communicating via words not many people can understand. In Mexico, teens text to each other in Huave, a language that is only spoken by 15,000 people in Tehuantepec, while some Fillipino teens use Kapampangan to send quick messages to their friends.

"This really strengthens the use of the language," Herrera, who works in the anthropology department at the National University in Mexico City, told the paper.

Meanwhile, National Geographic gathered videos of young people rapping in endangered languages as part of its "Enduring Voices" project, which chronicles languages on the verge of extinction. National Geographic reports that more than half of the 7,000 languages spoken on the planet may disappear by 2100.

In the video below, Songe Nimasow and Khandu Degio, who live in a remote corner of India called Arunachal Pradesh, sing in the endangered Aka language.

Chilean teens also rap using a mix of the endangered Huillichesungun languages and Spanish. Linguists say they're delighted that some endangered languages have acquired a certain hip cachet--especially since many languages end up dying out if young people don't quickly adopt them.

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