Mertz Library Humanities

Plants, People, & Languages

Friday, November 8, 2019

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Photo of David Harrison recording languages in VanuatuExploring Connections Between Linguistic Diversity and Biodiversity

Half of the world’s languages are endangered and may go extinct in this century. The loss of these languages will have dire consequences not only for their speakers, but also for culture, science, and the environment—especially human knowledge of plants. Around the world, speakers of indigenous languages are mounting strategic efforts to save their languages, as they also work to safeguard the biodiversity that they steward.

This presentation features photos and video clips of speakers of some of the world’s most endangered languages, from Siberia, India, the U.S., and other locations, and will demonstrate how indigenous speakers and scientists are working to sustain languages and environmental knowledge through technology. Current work in Vanuatu with NYBG botanists Michael Balick and Greg Plunkett will be featured.


Support for the Humanities Institute provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation