BBC News reports on the state of endangered languages around the world: an estimated 7,000 languages are being spoken around the world. But that number is expected to shrink rapidly in the coming decades. What is lost when a language dies?
In 1992 a prominent US linguist stunned the academic world by predicting that by the year 2100, 90% of the world’s languages would have ceased to exist.
Far from inspiring the world to act, the issue is still on the margins, according to prominent French linguist Claude Hagege.
“Most people are not at all interested in the death of languages,” he says. “If we are not cautious about the way English is progressing it may eventually kill most other languages.”
According to Ethnologue, a US organisation that compiles a global database of languages, 473 languages are currently classified as endangered.
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