Language means so much more than communication between people – it represents culture, history, tradition and identity. According to UNESCO, there are more than 6000 languages in the world today. A startling fact is that about 97% of the world speaks just 4% of these languages, including languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Indonesian and Arabic. Only 3% of the population speaks the remaining 96% of the languages, many of which are indigenous languages.
Around 600 languages have already disappeared in the last century, and experts estimate that others will continue to disappear at a rate of one language every two weeks. If this trend continues, up to 90% of the world’s languages are likely to disappear before the end of the century. Why is this happening and what can we do about it?