Why are some languages ​​dying out

Language is pure life: How dreary would our everyday life be if we couldn't exchange and communicate with other people? Unthinkable. Communication, information, culture, gossip: all of this would be difficult to imagine without the right words. On International Mother Language Day, every year on February 21, UNESCO draws attention to this - and emphasizes the enormous importance of cultural diversity and multilingualism. Because of the approximately 6,000 languages ​​spoken worldwide today, according to UNESCO estimates, more than 2,500 are in danger of disappearing.

Why are languages ​​dying out?

New media are promoting the influence of individual language groups around the world. Communication and international exchange are becoming more and more important in our globalized world. A few business and lingua franca languages, such as English, Spanish, French, Russian and Chinese, play a key role. They are taught in schools around the world and spoken by millions of people. Other languages, on the other hand, have not even been mentioned in a document to this day. And once the last speaker or reader dies, there is a high probability that their language will also disappear.

UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages

There are many reasons why languages ​​are at risk: war, displacement and stigmatization are just as much a part of them as migration and the mixing of languages. In many countries, fewer and fewer books and textbooks are printed in local languages ​​and dialects. This threatens the diversity of cultural forms of expression and causes the social isolation of smaller language communities. Each language variant stands for its own view of the world. This applies to native languages ​​in Papua New Guinea as well as to the world language English. According to UNESCO estimates, 2,500 languages ​​are threatened. The atlas of endangered languages ​​lists them by name, threat level and region. Around 600 languages ​​are acutely threatened with extinction, as children do not learn them more than their mother tongue.

Endangered languages ​​in Germany

The languages ​​in the UNESCO Atlas are listed by name, threat level and region. From Germany, too, 13 regional and minority languages ​​are listed as endangered. North Frisian and Sater Frisian are considered to be seriously endangered. Sorbian, Bavarian and Alemannic are also spoken by fewer and fewer people. Jutland, as spoken on the German-Danish border, as well as the Romani language of the Sinti and Roma, are among the endangered minority languages.