This Is How Google Wants To Make The Internet Speak Everyone’s Language

JAKARTA, Indonesia — When Nurhaida Sirait-Go curses, she curses in her mother tongue.

The 60-year-old grandmother does everything emphatically, and Bahasa, the official language of Indonesia, just doesn’t allow for the same fury of swearing as Batak, the language that Sirait-Go grew up speaking on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

“On Facebook, on Whatsapp, they speak only Bahasa. So I can’t speak the way I want,” said Sirait-Go, who giggles uncontrollably and covers her mouth with both hands when asked to repeat one of her favorite curse words in Bakat. “I can’t, I can’t! People don’t use these words anymore. … They aren’t on the internet so they don’t exist.”

Batak is one of over 700 languages spoken in Indonesia. But only one language, Bahasa, is currently taught by public schools and widely-used online. For language preservationists, it’s just one more example of how the internet’s growing global influence is leaving some languages in the dust. Linguists warn that 90% of the world’s approximately 7,000 languages will become extinct in the next 100 years. Or, as one prominent group of linguists ominously put it, every 14 days another language goes extinct.

Read more: BuzzFeed News

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