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article imageHalf of world's languages may become extinct by year 2100

By Andrew Moran     May 15, 2010 in Science
A new report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that half of all modern languages may vanish by the year 2100. UNESCO says many languages are already considered to be endangered.
Here are some interesting facts about languages: There are 6,912 languages in the world. There are thirteen languages that are spoken by more than 100 million people. Approximately 2,000 languages are spoken by less than 1,000 people. The English language has about 800,000 words. Language has existed since 100,000 BC and the first language ever written was either Sumerian or Egyptian in 3,200 BC. Italian movies have won the most Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film.
All of that history of language could become extinct by the year 2100, according to UNESCO. A new report shows that half of all modern languages will “probably vanish” by the end of the century, reports Press TV.
Professor K. David Harrison, the director of the Living Tongues Institute of Swarthmore College, explained that there is a large rate of “language extinction or language death” and that half of the world’s languages are already endangered. Harrison further added that the world is losing one language every two weeks.
There are several spots around the world where endangered languages are grouped, which include North America, specifically the Pacific Northwest and Oklahoma, central South America, northern Australia and eastern Siberia.
“Languages disappear for many reasons, but usually it is because the speakers are pressured to assimilate to a more dominant culture. They are made to feel from a very young age that their language is not as good, is not as worthy, is not as modern as other languages that may be spoken,” said Harrison.
UNESCO warns the loss of languages could lead to the loss of history, culture and nature.
In 2009, UNESCO published a report that shows 2,500 languages are endangered and 200 are completely lost, reports TED.
There is an interactive atlas from UNESCO that shows the world’s languages in danger.
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