The world’s diverse languages should be spoken, celebrated, and preserved, writes SHELDON SHAEFFER .
Not a week passes without the report of a species - ranging from Bornean orangutans to Australian spiders - being threatened, endangered, or newly extinct. Large amounts of resources, both human and financial, and considerable passion, of both environmentalists and developers, are expended in the fight over whether to save the species or let it die. The preservation of biodiversity, seen as essential for a sustainable future, has become a major battleground of this century.
If only so much passion were devoted to another kind of diversity - that of languages and cultures! For languages - and the cultures they transmit - are in serious trouble. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s people speak only 4% of the world’s languages, which means that only 3% of the world’s people speak 96% of its languages.
In 1992, the linguist Michael Krauss predicted that, if nothing were done, 90 percent of the world’s 6,000 or so living languages (1/3 of which are in Asia) would become extinct over the next hundred years. Fifty percent of these he classified as “moribund” (where the language is not being taught to or learned by children of the language group) and another 40% as “endangered” (where the conditions exist that, if not changed, will result in the language not being passed on to the next generation). Thus, only 10% of the world’s total languages can be reasonably classified as “safe” - in other words, languages which have very large numbers of speakers and official state support. Linguistic and cultural diversity is under serious threat around the world.
courtesy of Tansang Kenyalang,read more at;