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One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage

From the rugged Oregon coast, to the Himalayan foothills, to the Bolivian Andes, languages are struggling to survive. Of the more than 7,000 languages spoken in the world today-many of them unrecorded, and with small numbers of speakers-up to half may disappear in this century.

Languages are humankind's principal way of interacting and of communicating ideas, knowledge, values, memories, and history. As primary vehicles of cultural expressions such as poetry, songs, textile weaving, basket making, and foodways-they are essential to the identity of individuals and communities. Languages also embody the accumulation of thousands of years of a ...

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