According to UNESCO, "It is estimated that, if nothing is done, half of the 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century. With the disappearance of unwritten and undocumented languages, humanity would lose not only a cultural wealth but also important ancestral knowledge embedded, in particular, in indigenous languages."
Linguistics students and faculty are actively engaged in documenting and supporting endangered languages. As a destination for immigrants from all over the world, New York City is home to speakers of many endangered languages, presenting local linguists with an opportunity for important fieldwork.
See also the Endangered Language Initiative, based here at the Graduate Center, and the Endangered Language Alliance, an independent non-profit based in New York City.
Professor, Acting Executive Officer (Fall 2019)