Extinction of Languages, Erosion of Cultures



“Indigenous tongues must exist, must be respected to cherish cultural and biological diversity. Languages are necessary in our communication, necessary in our rituals, necessary to laugh. Surely if we are able to laugh in 7,000 languages, our world will be a better place.” - Álvaro Fernández Sampaio 1

According to the UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing and to Ethnologue, 96% of the global population speaks a mere 4% of all of the recorded languages of the world.

Of the estimated 6, 700 languages currently spoken throughout the world, a little over 2,500 have been classified as endangered and half are predicted to become extinct by the end of this century.

As UNESCO eloquently expressed, “Languages are humankind’s principle tools for interacting and for expressing ideas, emotions, knowledge, memories and values. Languages are also primary vehicles of cultural expressions and intangible cultural heritage, essential to the identity of individuals and groups. Safeguarding endangered language is thus a crucial task in maintaining cultural diversity worldwide.”

This website aims to explore the current situation of language endangerment and extinction, to investigate its different causes and courses, and lastly to discuss for what reasons and in which ways we can prevent it.