More than 1500 languages may be lost by end of century, says study

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 21, 2021, 01:22 AM(IST)

This representative image shows Iraqi calligrapher Wael al-Ramadan, 49, using a stylus to produce a sample of Arabic calligraphy in the "Diwani" calligraphic style at his workship in al-Ashar district of Iraq's southern city of Basra Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

There are an estimated 6500 to 7000 languages currently spoken across the world. Researchers at Australian National University (ANI), who have carried out the study, say that more than half of the languages are under great threat

A language is not just collection of words or sounds. Each one represents a unique world and culture that shapes the world in its own way. It is a repository of centuries of human experience, thoughts, emotions and more.

And this is why when a language is lost, a door is closed on humankind.

A study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution says that more than 1500 languages face the threat of becoming extinct by the end of this century. The study found that many factors put endangered languages at high risk.

There are estimated 6500 to 7000 languages currently spoken across the world. Researchers at Australian National University (ANI), who have carried out the study, say that more than half of the languages are under great threat.

Also Read | Study shows that away from human touch, tropical forests can regenerate in 20 years

Study's co-author Felicity Meakins has been quoted in media reports as saying that language loss could triple in 40 years. This would mean loss of a language per month.

The study says that there was urgent need to invest in community-level documentation and bilingual education.

In addition to factors such as migration, financial reasons, politics has had bearing on the suppression of languages. The researchers note that indigenous languages in Australia were pushed towards extinction due to brutal colonial policies. The colonisers often handed punishments to indigenous language speakers for simply using their language. Such policies made it tough for generations to teach languages to children.

Read in App