Rapid globalization and technology that brings majority world languages into minority language homes threatens the survival of the estimated 6,000 to 7,000 languages worldwide. Whether in Africa, Australia, the United States or beyond, tiny languages are endangered, with their survival often depending on the last elderly speakers. Europe’s endangered Irish language is a great story of a language reviving its prospects, but success stories of languages renewed and reclaimed abound, such as the Wampanoag language, spoken by the tribe reputed to have celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. The human spirit craves a connection to ancestors and the past, and heritage languages do just that, while breathing new life into the future.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx