5 Hotspots for Dying Languages

An article at Anthropology.net summarizes an alarming trend of the extinction of languages, particularly in Northern Australia, Central South America, North America's upper Pacific coastal zone, Eastern Siberia, and Oklahoma and the southwestern US:

“Every 14 days a language dies. By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth—many of them never yet recorded—will likely disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and how the human brain works.”


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I visited Barcelona last month and I was rather impressed at the steps taken there to prevent Catalan from being squashed in favor of (Castilian) Spanish. The language has apparently recovered quite a bit a bit since its low point during Franco's reign. It's a tough call (it probably hurts the economy and trade as well)- but if preserving your heritage and culture is important, there is nothing more crucial than doing so through language.

I wish the Irish would greater embrace Irish Gaelic. There are chunks of speakers here and there, but I'm not sure there is critical mass. I haven't visited Scotland, but isn't it even worse there for Scottish Gaelic and Scots? (Can some native Irish and Scotsmen comment?) It's got to happen in the early years of the schools...
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