Endangered languages

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This learning resource is part of the Wikilang project.

Endangered languages are those language where linguists estimate a possible menace to become extinct. Endangered languages mostly struggle to be learned by children or that it is given from one generation to the next one which means that within some generation the language may die. Currently, there are a lot of languages that are considered to be endangered. If one faces the fact that 90% of all languages are just spoken by 10% of the world's population and 10% of the languages are spoken by 90% of the population the dimensions and relations speak for themselves. So, 50-90% of the languages are endangered; some of them are highly endangered as there are only some or sometimes only one speaker(s) remains. If they decease the whole language dies. In opposition to extinct languages an endangered language can be revitalised more easily for there is still a (mostly small) community. This is the point where Wikilang shows up. We offer the possibility for every language community to use this page to build up projects to revitalise, reinforce and/or develop their language. For us the extinction of languages and the decreasing language diversity are a big threat to the world's culture which can be somehow stopped or prevented.


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  • Pennsylvania Dutch
  • Irish Gaelic
  • Scots Gaelic
  • Welsh - Spoken only by some people in Wales (Around 30% of the population, and rising according to the last census)
  • Breton
  • Chaucer (Middle English) - Mostly learnt for higher levels of English (A level, PhDs etc.)
  • Ancient Japanese - Many symbols and pronunciations have been forgotten over centuries
  • Norman

Slightly Endangered

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  • Latin (Only taught in some schools, and usually only used by doctors, canon lawyers, and scientists)
  • Ancient Greek - even though its similiarity to Modern Greek keeps it living in Greece, it is still rarely spoken
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  • Wikipedia: List of endangered languages
  • List of more than 500 nearly extinct languages in SIL's Ethnologue Report (print version 2005: ISBN 1-55671-159-X).
  • UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages