Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode 16: Our Dying Words
By some estimates, approximately half of all languages currently alive on Earth will become extinct during this century. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000-plus tongues, many spoken by only tens or hundreds of people. But what exactly do we lose when a language dies without ever having been documented? Is it equivalent to, say, species extinction? Listen as Bob Garfield and I discuss the race to preserve what is arguably humanity’s most impressive achievement.
You'll find every Lexicon Valley episode at slate.com/lexiconvalley, or in the player below:
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