UN says four in every ten indigenous languages may die


  • Four in every ten indigenous languages across the world may disappear or die, said UN Human Rights.
  • As many as 230 languages disappeared between 1950 and 2010.
  • In 2016, 40% of the 6700 languages on the verge of dying.
Four in every ten indigenous languages across the world may disappear or die, said UN Human Rights urging to "reverse the historic destruction of age-old dialects".

The situation was more or less similar in 2016 when the UN's Permanent Forum estimated 40% of the 6,700 languages are on the verge of dying. Some of the dialects barely had one speaker left.

People around the world use and speak 7,111 languages, according to a directory Ethnologue. However, 40% of the world's population speak only five languages mainly Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, and Arabic. Asia and Africa have the highest number of indigenous living languages.

As many as 230 languages disappeared between 1950 and 2010, reported according to the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. T here are only 1,000 speakers for about a quarter of the total languages used across the world.

A language goes extinct every two weeks with the death of its last speaker, reported BBC.

In India alone, 42 languages are critically endangered, with the extinction of 5 languages since 1950, reported The Hindu.

It is possible to bring back a language in daily use again with political efforts and preservation of written records. One such language that went extinct, and is back in use is Hebrew. The native language of Israel disappeared from four-century BC to 1800s. However, Israel government stepped up efforts in the 1970s, and saved it from extinction.
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