Save Languages

Why should we save languages?

  • There are between 6,500 to 7000 languages spoken and nearly half of them are endangered.

  • Even non-endangered languages are gradually declining in favour of the major world languages. In some regions, even many of the major languages are being abandoned in favour of English.

  • Language and culture are closely interlinked. When you lose a language, you lose a culture. That is why, historically, states would attempt to ban or suppress use of minority languages when trying to assimilate peoples.

  • Languages can lose prestige and speakers can be induced to stop using them to gain social and economic opportunities. Additionally, speakers can be forced to stop using them.

  • The revitalisation and preservation of languages is closely linked to the well-being of peoples and communities.

  • Each language is a repository of scientific, geological, botanical and cultural knowledge. When a language dies, this information is lost.

  • To summarise, urgent action is needed to preserve and revitalise endangered languages, prevent vulnerable languages from becoming endangered and prevent some major languages from declining.

  • A lot of people invoke social Darwinism to say ‘who cares’,” says Mark Turin, an anthropologist and linguist at Yale University. “But we spend huge amounts of money protecting species and biodiversity, so why should it be that the one thing that makes us singularly human shouldn’t be similarly nourished and protected?” - Languages: Why we must save dying tongues. Nuwer, 2014 for the B.B.C.

Learn a Language

  • Visit Duolingo. Several endangered languages are available on the application.

  • Visit Memrise. Even more languages are available. Simply search for the language you wish to learn through the search-bar.

  • Visit Omniglot to discover a new language. Scroll down to the bottom of each language-profile to find resources for that particular language.