Of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken around the globe, one dies every two weeks. When a language dies, more than just words and sounds die along with it. The differences between the languages we speak are not only evident in grammar and in vocabulary, but also in the ways we perceive and think about the world. Languages possess elements of history within their many complexities and inform every discipline within the social sciences. When a language dies, so does a culture, means of expression, and history.
Vernda (meaning protect in Icelandic) is an interactive experience that allows for users to learn more about dying languages and the people that speak them. Vernda collects elementary vocabulary from Belarusian, Quechuan languages, Welsh, Icelandic, and Macedonian speakers and introduces them through an interactive card series that acts as a foundation for those looking to learn the language.
Each card can be found at a different location in New York City by using the map feature on the Vernda app. Users can scan each card using the augmented reality portion of the app to translate each card into English. This provides access to a five-question interview with each participant that highlights their relationship to their language. By providing users with information and interviews about dying language directly from the people who speak them, Vernda creates a unique interactive experience that joins in the efforts to combat language death.