Vanishing Voices

April 15th, 2005 - September 30th, 2008 | PROJECT

Ironbound Films, Inc. is producing a one-hour PBS television documentary, with ancillary Web site, curriculum and program guides about the causes of language loss, how it affects science and how scientists are responding. Vanishing Voices takes viewers from Native Siberia to Native America, from ancient texts to cutting-edge technology, to demonstrate how scientists record -- even help revive -- the world's tongues. Vanishing Voices is the first film about language loss that addresses the issue as important to science. The ancillary program guide will be designed for use by Native Americans who are interested in studying or reviving their languages. A formative evaluation of the program and a summative evaluation of the program and outreach materials will be conducted by RMC Research Corporation. INTELLECTUAL MERIT: This program is supported in conjunction with the NSF/NEH Interagency Partnership to Document Endangered Languages. The topic is timely and compelling. The production team is well qualified, and they have sought out the support and involvement of the linguistic community and Native Americans involved in reviving their languages. BROADER IMPACT: The project has the potential to educate the public about the crisis of language loss, the scientific and cultural value of linguistic diversity, and the ways in which that diversity can be maintained. With the program's use in classrooms and the program guides targeted to Native Americans, the project has the potential to inspire young linguistic students to get involved in field work and to encourage Native American communities to work with scientists in preserving their dying languages. The teachers guide will imbue science material into the social science curriculum.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Daniel Miller, Principal Investigator, Ironbound Films, Inc.
Seth Kramer, Co-Principal Investigator, Ironbound Films, Inc.


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0452417
Funding Amount: 518230


Access and Inclusion: Ethnic | Racial | Indigenous and Tribal Communities
Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Nature of science | Social science and psychology | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media