Languages Dying Out

This Associated Press report reminds us that of approximately the 7,000 languages spoken around the world today. One language dies out about every two weeks. There are five geographical danger areas for this depressing phenomenon.

The five areas were identified by the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages and the National Geographic Society. They are:

* Northern Australia: 153 languages.

* Central South America (including Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia): 113 languages.

* Northwest Pacific Plateau (including British Columbia in Canada and the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon): 54 languages.

* Eastern Siberian Russia, China, Japan: 23 languages.

* Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico: 40 languages.

Source: AP. Read the full report.

Languages are more endangered than plant and animal species, the experts tell us. The 83 most widely spoken languages account for about 80 percent of the world’s population while the 3,500 smallest languages account for just 0.2 percent. It’s good to be reminded of those languages that we never hear spoken ourselves or don’t have a professional involvement with.

I wonder could technology help revitalize the endangered languages and foster more speakers?

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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