It has been estimated that there are over 7,000 languages spoken throughout the world, but by 2100 that number is expected to decrease by 90 percent. This phenomenon known as “language death” is growing fast and it is a lot more important than you might think. Language death essentially means that a language ceases to exist and according to recent estimates, the internet is to blame for a large majority of languages deaths occurring around the globe as we speak.
The Issue with Killing International Languages
The issue of language death is a big one. Already it is estimated that 473 languages are endangered. These languages include Bikya, Lipan Apache and Totoro. Never heard of them? Since these languages have such few native speakers (as in less than 10 in the entire world), it is no surprise you have never heard of them. Small communities of these endangered languages are all that is left and as more citizens explore the larger world, less individuals learn of these native tongues. When a language “dies” the cultural heritage and expression between individuals that speak it dies too. These native languages are how people in these small communities express themselves through both humor, love and life in general. Languages are, in fact, what define cultures. Without them, there is nothing to define or even remember.
How the Internet is at Fault
The internet is a powerful tool. It provides connectivity and allows individuals from all over the world to explore the larger world around them. Unfortunately, most websites today are written in English, Spanish or Mandarin. Smaller, lesser known languages do not have a large enough following to justify translating or offering websites in that language; therefore, users on the internet are forced to learn English in order to stay connected with the rest of the globe. As the internet grows in popularity and more users log-on, these smaller, lesser known languages are expected to vanish.
[Image via visilang]