Ethnologue, a reference tool published by SIL International, is the definitive catalog of the world’s 7,105 known living languages. Any language is considered at risk of being lost when it ceases to be passed on to younger generations, while at the same time the fluent speakers of the language, usually the elderly pass from the scene. When they die the language usually does with them.
This is a critical issue today because language allows for cohesiveness in unique and distinctive cultures. It enables the members of a culture to communicate with one another and to pass their cultural norms and heritage from one generation to the next. When a language becomes extinct, it is not just the language that dies. Future generations loose a part of the fabric of their identity and the ability to retain the nuances and identification with their own culture that is the strongest glue holding their unique society together.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in their publication "Atlas of Languages in Danger of Disappearing, more than 3,000 languages are reportedly spoken by fewer than 10,000 people each. SIL estimates that 417 languages are on the verge of extinction.
It is imperative that these languages be kept alive so that the teachings, customs, oral traditions, cultural distinction and pride be passed from one generation to the next so that each cultural history remains intact as a part of the fabric of the global community.
Unlike any other innovation in the field of language, UniSkript inherently reinforces and displays the beauty of a culture and a distinctive people group. It has the ability to preserve a mother tongue and creates a sense of cultural pride as members of a language group see their spoken language displayed in an orthography and writing system that is uniquely “them”, rather than something syncretistic and from outside which dilutes their sense of uniqueness and distinction among the races of mankind.
For cultures that are currently a-graphic or that have historically had no writing system, the UniSkript orthography can become their permanent orthography. Once learned and embraced, a new literate culture can emerge. Using the new orthography a newly literate people can begin to record the oral teachings of the past which before were only transmitted orally.
UniSkript truly has the power to turn the tide of language and cultural extinction, as young people become rapidly literate in their own mother tongue. When literacy is desirous and advantageous in roman charters, UniSkript is a more rapid stepping stone to such literacy than all other methods to bridging from mother tongue to English or another language.
UniSkript Research and Literacy Institute is currently implementing a Literacy Study in the Gulf Region of Papua New Guinea among the Koriki and Urama Speaking peoples. Twenty other distinct languages have been reduced to UniSkript and are being successfully used to bring literacy and a sense of cultural pride and preservation the native mother tongue speakers and their people groups.
Plans are underway to launch new first nations language initiatives in Sierra Leone and in Brazil in 2014 and to scale Uniskript Research and Literacy Institute’s literacy team around the globe. URLI is seeking opportunities to partner with governments, departments of education, educational and cultural funding organizations as well as multi- national corporations that seek to contribute to Education and Cultural Heritage Preservation in the host nations where they conduct business.