Cambridge News reports on a worthy initiative:
A Cambridge start-up is on a mission to save some of the world’s most endangered languages from extinction.
Tribalingual is a language learning platform backed by the Cambridge Social Ventures programme in the Centre for Social Innovation at the Cambridge Judge Business School. It focuses solely on teaching rare and endangered languages.
It has been founded by Inky Gibbens, who became interested in endangered languages when she discovered that Buryat, the northern-Siberian language of her grandparents, was in danger of dying out.
“The rationale for using a language school to save languages is obvious,” said Gibbens.
“The only real way to save languages is by getting more people to speak them.”
So where others attempt to preserve languages by mummifying them through documentation and archiving, Tribalingual wants to give them a new lease of life by cultivating new generations and communities of speakers.
The company will initially focus on three dialects: Ojibwe, an endangered musical language in North America; Tulu, a South Indian language that is passed down orally only and doesn’t have a writing system; and Ainu, the language of a marginalised indigenous tribe in Japan, with less than 10 speakers worldwide.