Preserving cultural heritage one language at a time
There are close to 7,000 languages spoken around the world today. Yet, sadly, every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker, and it is predicted that between 50% and 90% of endangered languages will disappear by next century. When a community loses a language, it loses its connection to the past – and part of its present. It loses a piece of its identity. As Microsoft thinks about protecting this heritage and the importance of preserving language, it believes that new technology can help.
For the past 14 years, Microsoft has been collaborating with te reo Māori experts and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) to weave te reo Māori into the technology that thousands of Kiwis use every day with the goal of ensuring it remains a living language with a strong future. The collaboration has already resulted in translations of Minecraft educational resources and it recently commissioned a game immersed entirely in the traditional Māori world, Ngā Motu (The Islands).