Many of the world’s most remote languages are in danger of disappearing. Here, neighbors in the Altai mountains in China craft a new pair of skis. The range connects Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan, making the threatened Altai language an unusual blend of dialects. PHOTOGRAPH BY JONAS BENDIKSEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
There are more than 7,000 living languages in the world, but the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) predicts that more than half of them will become extinct by the end of the century.
The World Atlas of Endangered Languages, published by the United Nations, reveals that a language becomes extinct every two weeks. This means that 25 languages become extinct annually, and if the situation continues, it will lead to the disappearance of 90% of the languages that are threatened or at risk of extinction.
Although the future and destiny of these languages and hundreds of others seem bleak, specialized linguists and language enthusiasts around the world are making efforts to preserve these languages which are struggling to survive in human speech.
UNESCO tracks and collects data accurately in the Atlas of the World’s Threatened Languages, while the new “Wikitongues” platform collects videos of native speakers who speak their languages to make it available to future generations, and if you speak one of these endangered languages or know someone who does so, you can record a video of these Platform.
And if you’re lucky enough to know older friends or acquaintances who speak a rare local language or dialect, take the time to learn from them, and if you really love languages you can study an endangered language in the hope of keeping the knowledge alive.
Among the endangered languages is a short list of six examples that are about to disappear from the speakers’ tongues:
In 2016 Rosa Andrade Okajan, the last rare Amazonian woman in Peru, was killed at the age of 67, and her brother Pablo is the last known speaker in the Recigaro language, making her one of the most endangered languages.
The Peruvian Ministry of Culture is working with the last speaker of the language to prepare a dictionary and grammar book for a language that Pablo cannot speak with anyone around the world.
A Russian census of 2010 revealed that there were only 44 speakers of Turkish Cholim, and the inhabitants of the popular Siberian villages called themselves the name of their language, and their recognition as an ethnic group was withdrawn by the Soviet government in 1959, and then they re-recognized them in 1999.
Cholim was once a widely spoken language, but part of it was absorbed into the Turkish language, and because of the Russian antagonism of different language and culture in the middle of the last century it gained a modest social status and was not inherited by children who were forced by the state to learn the Russian “nation language”.
The indigenous language of the Australian Northern Territory may be growing but nonetheless threatened with extinction, and the 2006 Australian census considered that only 47 speakers were left, but the 2016 census increased the number to 92 speakers at home.
As of 2011, there may have been only one person who spoke Patoin as a native language, Native Americans spoke in ancient California, and others were trying to revive the endangered language by creating a grammar book and building educational classes for children from pre-school to high school in the rare language.
The Ainu people are indigenous to the island of Hokkaido in Japan, Ainu language and its cultural traditions were banned in the late 19th century, largely integrated into Japanese culture, and the 1980s saw a revival in indigenous culture, but their language currently includes less than twenty “native” speakers , And all of them are over 64 years old.
Before Europeans arrived in America, it was likely that between 500 and 800 Native Americans spoke the Shimen Huevi language, which originated in the Mojave Desert in North America, but there are fewer than 20 speakers who are now fluent in this rare language.
The list includes many languages in Africa, Asia, the Americas and even in the countries of Northern Europe, where some of the languages of Scandinavian countries face risks at the present time due to the decline in the number of native speakers in front of the English language, which is increasing in new generations.
Because of wars, forced migrations, the globalisation of the English language, Internet culture and satellite TV, many very local languages have entered the danger list as a result of the involvement of tribesmen and local communities in world culture.