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UM News
April 05, 2013


K. David Harrison, a leading specialist in the study of endangered languages and co-leader of the National Geographic Enduring Voice project, will deliver a lecture titled “Endangered Languages: Local and Global Perspectives” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, in Social Science Building Room 356 at The University of Montana.

Harrison is an associate professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and has conducted extensive fieldwork in Siberia, Mongolia, Bolivia, India and North America. His work includes scientific descriptions of languages, as well as storybooks, translations and digital archives for use by the language community.

Approximately half of the world’s 7,000 languages are predicted to go extinct this century. In his lecture, Harrison will address how language death leads to intellectual impoverishment in all fields of science and culture. He also will detail efforts to sustain, value and revitalize linguistic diversity worldwide.   

Local perspectives on language endangerment and extinction will be illustrated with original field materials and recordings of last speakers.

Harrison also will be available for a Q-and-A session following a showing of the documentary film “The Linguists” at 6 p.m. Monday, April 15, in Social Science Building Room 356. The film features Harrison and originally was screened at the 2008 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

Both events are free and open to the public. The film screening and lecture are sponsored by the UM Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Green Thread Initiatives, the UM Linguistics Club and the departments of Anthropology, Environmental Science, Communication Studies, Society and Conservation and Native American Studies.

For more information call UM anthropology and linguistics Associate Professor Mizuki Miyashita at 406-243-5164 or email






Contact: Mizuki Miyashita,, associate professor, UM Department of Anthropology, 406-243-5164,