K. David Harrison is a linguist and leading specialist in the study of endangered languages. He co-leads the Enduring Voices project at National Geographic and is an associate professor at Swarthmore College. Harrison has done extensive fieldwork in Siberia, Mongolia, Bolivia, India, and Native America. In his book, When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World’s Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge (Oxford 2007), Harrison provides a vivid picture of the scientific consequences of language loss. He also depicts the human factor, including moving accounts of his encounters with last speakers in remote corners of the globe. In 2004 Harrison co-founded the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to raising awareness, documenting, and revitalizing small languages. In 2006 he coined the term “language hotspots,” which has since become a leading promotional metaphor for understanding the language extinction crisis. Harrison holds a doctorate degree from Yale University.
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