Exploring 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
About the Speaker
Dr. K. David Harrison, Swarthmore College
Currently NYBG—Humanities Institute Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Scholar
Anthropologist and linguist David Harrison has been a National Geographic Fellow and co-director of the Society’s Enduring Voices Project, documenting endangered languages and cultures around the world. He has done extensive fieldwork with indigenous communities from Siberia and Mongolia to Peru, India, and Australia. His global research is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film The Linguists, and his work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, USA Today, and Science. David is professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College, and an honorary research associate at NYBG.