For week 4 our assignment was to create a public service announcement with a call to action. I chose endangered languages as my topic with the action to be to donate to an organization that works to revitalize and preserve languages: The Indigenous Language Institute.
The assignment also called for a short description "explaining how your final design reflects particular rhetorical choices you’ve made":
Over 7000 languages are spoken today. The majority (50% - 90%) of them are projected to become extinct by the end of this century. Languages have come and gone throughout history. This is, for better or worse, normal. However, the scale of language extinction facing us today is unprecedented.
Language is a vital part of a culture and a repository of its knowledge. Thus, losing half or more of the world's languages would be a huge loss for us as a species. To capture even a fraction of the endangered languages is a daunting task and something for which there has not, traditionally, been much funding.
For this project I wanted felt the best tactic was to use logos in the form of the statistics and impact of language loss and then focus hard on the pathos of the situation.I tried to encode that pathos in all three 'channels' of the PSA: text, video and sound.
The statistics and the impact of language loss are in stark black text against the lighter-colored background animation. The animation itself shows approximately half of the languages displayed fading away as the story of the text unfolds. Finally, the music is a clip from a melancholy, Native American-inspired song by Laurent Danis, which I chose to represent the sadness of the indigenous peoples, who are almost exclusively impacted by language loss, over what they are losing.
While preserving languages is important, revitalizing them has an even greater impact on its people and their culture, so I chose The Indigenous Language Institute to ask people donate to. Its mission is to work with indigenous peoples to reintroduce their language to adults and children a like to help it turn from moribund to flourishing.
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