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Discussing 'Language City' with Author Ross Perlin on Tuesday's Access Utah

Half of all 7,000-plus human languages may disappear over the next century and—because many have never been recorded—when they’re gone, it will be forever. Ross Perlin, a linguist and co-director of the non-profit Endangered Language Alliance, is racing against time to map little-known languages across the most linguistically diverse city in history: contemporary New York. In his book Language City, Perlin follows six remarkable yet ordinary speakers of endangered languages deep into their communities, from the streets of Brooklyn and Queens to villages on the other side of the world, to learn how they are maintaining and reviving their languages against overwhelming odds.

Ross Perlin is a linguist, writer, and translator. He has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, Harper’s, and n+1, and the Endangered Language Alliance has been covered by the New York Times, the New Yorker, BBC, NPR, and many others. He is also the author of Intern Nation: How to Learn Nothing and Earn Little in the Brave New Economy. Perlin was a New Arizona Fellow at New America, and he is a native New Yorker.

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.