Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oops! My Language Just Died!!!

The newest publication of UNESCO's Atlas of World Languages reads that about 6000 languages are facing some kind of threat that could eventually lead up to their extinction. 2500 of the 6000 languages are listed as endangered & 200 languages are completely dead & gone. The atlas ranks the 2,500 endangered languages by five levels of vitality: unsafe, definitely endangered, severely endangered, critically endangered and extinct.

"199 languages have fewer than ten speakers and 178 others have 10 to 50. Among the languages that have recently become extinct, it mentions Manx (Isle of Man), which died out in 1974 when Ned Maddrell fell forever silent, Aasax (Tanzania), which disappeared in 1976, Ubykh (Turkey) in 1992 with the demise of Tevfik Esenc, and Eyak (Alaska, United States of America), in 2008"
- Quoted From The Publication

What are the dangers of a language becoming instinct?
  • A language encodes local knowledge on a community's traditions, culture & ways of life. Death of a language will prevent those outside that community from being aware of diverse sociological behaviors.
  • Medicinal secrets will also be veiled forever.
  • Threat of losing valuable pieces of Literature, poetry & other aesthetics
Many organizations, following the UNESCO's initiative have joined hands together in preserving the endangered languages. Although the dead languages are beyond resurrection, there is still hope for those are in threat of disappearing from the face of the earth thanks to such concerned individuals.

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