With 86 traditional languages on the verge of extinction in the U.S., ensuring these cultural treasures prevail is vital not only to preserving the heritage, but also to keeping local identity alive.
VERO BEACH, Fla., Jan. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study by WordFinder based on UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger has found that the United States is home to the greatest number of near extinct languages in the world.
The United States is home to the greatest number of near extinct languages in the world.
Furthermore, more than a quarter (28%) of critically endangered languages are spoken in just three countries: the U.S. (13.5%), Brazil (7.4%) and Australia (6.9%), while only 10 countries have more than half of the critically endangered languages in the world. The list includes India (6.7%), Indonesia (5.3%), Canada (4.9%), China (4.1%), Russian Federation (3.6%), Vanuatu (3.6%) and Mexico (3.5%).
"Languages are about more than vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar," says WordFinder Editor Michael Kwan. "Languages provide insight into how a cultural group views and interacts with the world around them, as well as the history of the people in a particular area."
It is becoming increasingly important to study and document local languages. That is why national governments, local administrations and private groups and associations are publishing dictionaries, recording speakers and creating educational programs. Revitalizing languages on the brink of extinction strengthens communities and reinforces a sense of cultural identity.
While the latest census (2009-2013) found that more than 291 million people aged 5 and over speak only English at home in the U.S., 45 do so when it comes to the critically endangered Chinook Jargon.
In Australia, over 17 million people speak English only (around 73% of the population) according to the 2016 census. By comparison, about 156 people speak the Aboriginal Miriwoong language (0.00066% of the country's population).
Visit WordFinder to read the full study, including more detailed accounts of specific critically endangered languages in each of the 10 countries: https://wordfinder.yourdictionary.com/blog/on-the-edge-critically-endangered-languages-in-top-countries/
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