National Geographic
Menu

Tag archives for languages

Ancient Traditions, Modern Celebration

Modern practitioners of the ancient healing ceremonies of the Kallawaya people of South America offer blessings for the United States on the Fourth of July at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.

Remote Cultures Come Face to Face in Washington D.C.

Artists, craft-makers, and thinkers from little-known cultures around the world share ideas and inspiration at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.

A Festival for the World’s Rarest Languages

Speakers from remote villages around the globe gather to be celebrated at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Reaching the Last Speakers of Japan’s Ancient Languages

Japan is home to a dozen ancient languages at risk of disappearing forever. A new translation of K. David Harrison’s “The Last Speakers” could help tip the scales in their favor.

Ash “Wednesday,” “Lent,” and “February”: Surprising Word Origins

Each year in February or March, Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent. But what does that word even mean? Or, for that matter, where in the world did we get “February”?

NG Explorers Help Record Xyzyl Language

The Enduring Voices team reports back on the Xyzyl (pronounced “hizzle”) language from the Republic of Xakasia northwest of Mongolia.

Basque Origins Predate Arrival of Farmers in Iberian Peninsula, DNA Analysis Finds

Comprehensive analysis of Basque genetic patterns has found that Basque genetic uniqueness predates the arrival of agriculture in the Iberian Peninsula some 7,000 years ago, the Genographic Project announced today. “Through detailed DNA analysis of samples from the French and Spanish Basque regions, the Genographic team found that Basques share unique genetic patterns that distinguish them from…

Linguists Discuss ‘Hidden’ Koro Language, Search for Last Speakers

Linguists working in India’s remote Arunachal Pradesh state have uncovered the hidden Koro language, which was previously undocumented and unknown to science. In an exclusive interview, they describe Koro’s survival, the Enduring Voices Project’s search for last speakers, and their efforts to promote humanity’s threatened linguistic diversity. By Ford Cochran Yesterday, linguists and National Geographic…

One More Endangered Language Falls Silent

News of the death of Boa Sr in India’s Andaman Islands—and with her the Bo language, of which Boa was the last known speaker—has focused media attention on humanity’s fast-vanishing endangered languages. The loss comes on the eve of the tenth anniversary of UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day this Sunday. “We imagine eureka moments taking…

Conservation in the 21st Century

More memorable moments from the 2009 Explorers Symposium: Linguists David Harrison and Greg Anderson discuss their work on the Enduring Voices project. “We’ve been out taking the pulse of some of the world’s smallest and most endangered languages,” says Harrison. “I love to think of our work as a kind of time travel. We get…