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Heritage Languages


What is a heritage language and how can we save them from extinction? Host Keerthi tells us that the first language in the world is considered to be Sumerian and the most spoken languages in the world are: English(over 1.4 billion speakers), Mandarin (1.1 billion + speakers), Hindi (602+ million speakers), Spanish (548+ million speakers), and French (280 million speakers).

Keerthi then interviews teen Cooper Lenderwith his Heritage Language Story Project supporting heritage language speakers

in recognizing the value of maintaining their home language. The project

website (https://www.heritagelanguagestory.org/) provides resources for heritage language

speakers and encourages them to share the story of their language experiences.

Maintaining a heritage language can be difficult and many heritage languages

are declining. The project’s goal is to have the stories shared on the

website normalize the difficulty of maintaining a home language. support other

heritage language speakers in finding ways to maintain their home language and

highlight the important value of heritage languages. Kevin Choo provides a

fascinating segment of A.I. and Us, where he shares two main ways A.I.

can assist with overcoming language barriers; by either directly translating or

assisting with language education. A.I.-based translators can learn from what

people who are using the app are inputting themselves and can adapt to any

specific language patterns or nuances that are often used but aren’t listed in

any source documents. They aren’t useful for conversations. By combining

translators with augmented reality, an automatic sight-translator can translate

whatever you see. A.I. is a tool created to brighten the future of mankind, and

it will be useful to maintaining and learning heritage languages.

Bio: Cooper Lender

Cooper Lender, a high school senior, is bilingual and passionate about language acquisition and maintenance. He speaks English, Spanish, and is learning Japanese. He loves learning about different languages and feels that learning a language is key to really understanding other cultures and histories. Cooper participated in the Reischauer Scholars program at Stanford University, where he learned more about Japanese culture and US-Japan relations. He started the Heritage Language Story Project (https://www.heritagelanguagestory.org/) that encourages heritage speakers to share their story about their experiences with their home language. He hopes to support heritage language speakers in seeing the value in maintaining their home languages.

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