Turning to AI to save endangered languages

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Group of Yugambeh Aboriginal warriors dance.

As languages are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, speakers of endangered languages are turning to technology in a race against time to pass on their unique languages and cultures to the next generation.

The United Nations has declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages in an effort to promote awareness of the plight of languages that are in danger of disappearing. “Through language, people preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression. They also use it to construct their future. Language is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation, and sustainable development”: all core aspects of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Thanks to the benefits of artificial intelligence for language documentation and learning, AI is becoming more important than ever in the fight to save endangered languages.

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