The Tailenders

PBS Premiere: July 25, 2006Check the broadcast schedule »

Links & Books


Endangered Languages

Endangered Language Alliance
A poet, professor, and field linguist have combined forces in New York City to "document, support and protect one of the most precious stores of cultural, scientific, and creative human knowledge: living languages." The Endangered Language Alliance (ELA, pronounced ay-la) is a new organization whose goal is "is to further the documentation, description, maintenance, and revitalization of threatened and endangered languages, and to educate the public about the causes and consequences of language extinction."

Ethnologue: Languages of the World
This website is a comprehensive online reference which catalogues 6,912 of the world's known languages. A global map shows which regions have a higher concentration of languages, while statistics by language size and language families are represented in a series of tables.

The Linguist List
Calling itself "the world's largest online linguistic resource," this website provides extensive information on language and language analysis. Find out more about a particular language or region by perusing the extensive database, which can be searched by language name, country and language family.

Information Please: Languages by Country
This page from educational publisher Pearson Education provides a comprehensive listing of every language spoken in each country in the world.

Babel Babbel: Say No More
"How does one salvage an ailing language when the economic advantages of, say, Spanish are all around you? And is it possible to step inside a dying language to learn whether it can be saved and, more rudely, whether it should be?" This New York Times article, reprinted here in Babel Babbel, a magazine about language and linguistics, investigates the case of Kawesqar, a moribund language spoken in the Patagonia region of Chile. (March 2004)

Evangelism and Technology

The Jesus Film Project
Jesus, an evangelical two-hour docudrama about the life of Jesus based on the Gospel of Luke, has been screened over 6 billion times in every country in the world and has been translated into hundreds of languages. The Jesus Film Project website lets visitors watch the film in many different languages and documents the history of the project.

University of Virginia: Religious Broadcasting
This website provides an overview of various facets of religious broadcasting, including the histories of televangelism and radio broadcasting.

Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
This academic journal takes a serious look at representations of religion in popular culture. Its past articles include a reading of South Park, an examination of an online Christian social network and a look at the spiritual dimensions of Lord of the Rings.

International Herald Tribune: Religion on Demand
Podcasts of religious sermons, like radio and television broadcasts before them, are another way for evangelical Christians to spread their message. This article examines the increasingly popular phenomenon. (August 30, 2005)

Boston Globe: Higher Power Point Presentation
Religious software can help anyone learn a Jewish chant, find out when it's time to pray, and sing along with spiritual hymns. Find out more about this $80 million dollar industry in this article. (January 2, 2006)

Missionary Activities Worldwide

Global Recordings Network
The group at the focus of "The Tailenders," GRN records Bible stories in an effort to reach groups without ample Christian resources. Their website lays out their missions, projects and strategies, and provides a searchable directory of their recordings in 5,500 languages, some of which can be downloaded as MP3s.

BBC: Religion and Ethics: Christianity: The Missionaries
Listen to audio interviews about missionary work in Ghana, Guatemala, Japan and America on this website for the BBC program Religion and Ethics.

Missionary Blogs
Find first person accounts from Christian missionaries around the world at this website, which aggregates the blogs of those who document their missionary experiences on the web.

Washington Post: Christian Missionaries Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq
In 2004, many Christian groups remained in Iraq at a time when other aid groups pulled out because of escalating violence. Find out how their missionary efforts panned out in largely-Islamic Iraq. (May 16, 2004)


NOW with Bill Moyers: American Evangelical Christians in the Holy Land
An unlikely group has emerged as a potent political force in discussions about peace in the Middle East: American Evangelical Christians in the United States. Citing Biblical prophecy, these evangelicals call for all of the West Bank to remain in Israeli hands, and oppose any two-state solution. Sometimes called Christian Zionists, they believe that the Second Coming of Jesus will take place in Jerusalem and also oppose any division of the city. NOW travels to Israel to examine the growing influence of these Christian Zionists on the peace process and on the making of American foreign policy in the Middle East. (February 20, 2004)

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: America's Evangelicals
This four part series takes a look at the prominence and influences of Protestant evangelicals, who make up about a quarter of the American population. Part one of the series focuses on their identity, part two on the political influence of Protestant evangelicals, part three on evangelicals and American culture, and part four takes a look at their commitment to spreading their faith. (April-May, 2004)

Frontline: The Jesus Factor
How George W. Bush became a born-again Christian -- and the impact that decision has had on his political career -- is the focus of this episode, which can be viewed in full on the website. Through interviews with Bush family friends, advisers, political analysts and observers -- as well as excerpts from the president's speeches, interviews and debates -- this one-hour documentary chronicles George W. Bush's personal religious journey while also examining the growing political influence of the nation's more than 70 million evangelical Christians.

NPR Stories

All Things Considered: Evangelizing the Troops
Evangelical Christian groups are lobbying members of Congress and the Air Force to make sure their views are represented in new religious tolerance guidelines. Specifically, they want to make sure government-paid military chaplains still have the right to evangelize troops. Opponents are also lobbying. They say paying chaplains to evangelize violates the establishment clause of the Constitution. (November 25, 2005)

All Things Considered: Now Playing on MP3: iSermons
A few pioneering houses of worship are spreading the word from the pulpit to the iPod. Members of the congregation can download Sunday's service and listen to it anytime during the week. (August 1, 2005)

Talk of the Nation: Evangelical Christians: Left and Right
Evangelical leaders on the political right and left discuss the politicization of their beliefs and the future of their movement. (June 20,  2005)

Talk of the Nation: Religious Perspectives on Globalization
Globalization is often talked about in economic or political terms, or in the spread of pop culture. But for religious leaders, our shrinking globe presents a challenge, and an opportunity. (May 16, 2006)

Talk of the Nation: Threatened Languages
There are close to 6,000 distinct languages spoken around the world today, and writer Mark Abley says most are doomed. NPR's Neal Conan leads a discussion that amounts to a travelogue about endangered languages, and looks at ways some may be saved.
(August 12, 2003)

Talk of the Nation: Endangered Languages
Some linguists predict that by the end of this century half of the languages now spoken in the world will be extinct. In this hour, we'll look at the world's endangered and dying languages. How is a culture shaped by its language? Does it really matter if we all speak the same language one day?
(March  8, 2002)

All Things Considered: Religious Broadcasters
The National Religious Broadcasters -- an organization of evangelical Christian radio and TV broadcasters -- recently ousted its president because he urged his colleagues to be more spiritual and less political. This has always been a source of tension among religious broadcasters. Fred Mogul reports on the debate. (March 15, 2002)