Language Endangerment

There are about 6000-7000 languages currently spoken around the world. But many of these languages are dying at a rapid rate. It is estimated that at least half of these languages would be extinct by the next 100 years or so. This is language endangerment.

A language is considered an endangered language when it is at risk of falling out of use by native speakers; it is a language dying and on the verge of extinction. It is endangered when native speakers are not using the language actively in everyday life, or when parents do not teach their native language to their children anymore, or when the youngest native speakers of the language are old already.

According to UNESCO, there are nine factors that determine a language’s vitality and endangerment. These are: absolute number of speakers, intergenerational language transmission, community member’s attitudes towards their own language, shifts in domain of language use, governmental and institutional language attitudes and policies, type and quality of documentation, response to new domain and media, availability of materials for language education and literacy, and proportion of speakers within the total population.

The Philippines is home to approximately 175 languages, but some of these languages are already endangered and some are already considered extinct as there are no native speakers of these languages anymore.

Languages die so rapidly and easily in this generation so I really respect and admire those who are still doing their best in preserving what is left of their language; of their culture; of their identity.

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3 thoughts on “Language Endangerment

  1. I do share with you a same opinion with regards to your last statement. It’s sad to know that unique languages are fading out so fast. Let’s just hope that their languages would continue to be preserved on with all their hard work. I’d really like to learn a few of those myself if I can.

  2. This is so cool, I talked to my brothers about this topic over dinner just a few nights ago!

    I actually told them that I don’t believe that languages die, it’s just that not a lot of people use it. Take Latin for example. There are still a few people who speak it, especially the clergy of the Catholic Church, so it isn’t necessarily dead. But that’s just my opinion. Reading your essay was surely informative! And it made me think! Thanks!! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Can you preserve a culture without the language? | Loving Language

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