Teens Keeping Dying Languages Alive by Texting

The loss of indigenous dialects (and their old, rich, associated cultures) is a problem that spans the globe. Luckily, SMS spans the globe as well, and kids in regions where certain tongues are falling off are using tech as conservation.

The method is accidental, as Samuel Herrera of the Institute of Anthropological Research in Mexico City explains. Herrera describes teens in the Phillippines and Mexico who, faced with a dearth of cool phrases that parents won't understand and haven't yet been tarnished by mainstream appropriation, have turned to dying languages for source material. Coolness through obscurity is nothing new—it happens on all corners of the world. Consider the fact that FTW started out as nerdy gamer slang, and then wound up on a widely popular site needling the royal wedding. So naturally, we turn back to the shadows and dig for something else that won't make sense to most people. In places like Mexico and the Philippines, this means simultaneously keeping lost dialects afloat. Everyone wins. [Mobiledia via Kottke, Image: Tracy Whiteside/Shutterstock]