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I've come across this sad article in National Geographic:

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/01/language_diversity_index_tracks_global_loss_of_mother_tongues/

It looks like the number of languages in the world is on a steady decline. I find that incredibly sad. Do you think this trend will stay and there will be even less languages in the future?

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Quite surprising to see how little (3.5%) of all languages are used by Europeans, while it's such a language-happy continent.

But on the other hand it's not as surprising, seeing how Norwegian and Swedish are slowly dying.
Even in the Netherlands we keep slowly replacing Dutch words by English ones, but at least those Belgians are here to keep the language alive. :P

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It's probably bound to happen if everyone's by-word these days seem to be globalization. The bigger languages will generally be what most people will strive to learn. While there is no quantitative data available in our country, it's been noted that a lot of our school kids are having problems with our very own "Filipino" language. Among the student population, especially the primary level students have more difficulty comprehending their Filipino lessons compared to their English lessons. In fact, it is for this reason that quite recently our Department of Education has introduced the Mother Tongue to be included in the curriculum. The Philippines, while many speak English and Filipino, have also diverse languages/dialects spread throughout the archipelago.

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I can totally relate to this being a Hopi Indian. My mother tongue is dying out and it has so many dialects that are dying out as well. I do not know how to even begin to keep them alive. I have tried to learn them, but they are hard to find online. They are not on Rosetta Stone that is for sure!

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12 hours ago, anna3101 said:

I've come across this sad article in National Geographic:

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/01/language_diversity_index_tracks_global_loss_of_mother_tongues/

It looks like the number of languages in the world is on a steady decline. I find that incredibly sad. Do you think this trend will stay and there will be even less languages in the future?

Good article. It discusses the decline of "mother tongue" languages in small groups of people because many people, since times are changing, are forced to adopt a dominant language (e.g. English). However, I don't think there will be less languages in the future. 

It took millions of years for humans to develop complex language and diversify into tons of dialects. If ever some languages decline, a new and different one will develop. 

 

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I find it terribly sad, as languages give us different perspectives of the world.  They drive cultural perceptions as much as they are formed by them!  Read this article for more on that.

That's, to me, why it is sad.  As languages die, so do cultures, and so do the various ways of thinking that we've developed.  Globalization, while good in many ways, also seems to mean the streamlining of human thought and behavior.

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On 9.02.2016, 18:26:37, Shounenbat said:

I find it terribly sad, as languages give us different perspectives of the world.  They drive cultural perceptions as much as they are formed by them!  Read this article for more on that.

That's, to me, why it is sad.  As languages die, so do cultures, and so do the various ways of thinking that we've developed.  Globalization, while good in many ways, also seems to mean the streamlining of human thought and behavior.

I can totally relate to that. Each language gives me a slightly different perspective, and sometimes I discover notions that I'd never have come across otherwise.

While I know nothing about minority languages that are disappearing, I still find the trend disturbing. I am not against many aspects of globalization, but some are truly alarming. However much I like English, I wouldn't want to live until the day 90% of the world population speaks only that, and nothing else...

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  • 5 months later...

When I tell other Chinese folks that I speak Hainanese and they tell me that they've never heard of it in their lives, it's one thing. But when other Hainanese folks tell me they can barely understand, let alone speak it, it's another. It's a sad fact, but my dialect is dying, and if my native tongue is then others are too. My mother tells me stories about how when she was younger, the school systems would only really use Hainanese back in Hainan. Now, there's a greater push for the use of China's official language, Mandarin, in their education. Even in the Hainan province, you wouldn't hear Hainanese being used in the major tourist districts; it's only ever used in the backwaters and the villages.

It might not be practical, however, I am blessed I was raised speaking such an unpopular dialect, even if I am no where near fluent.

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I can totally understand why and, honestly, with a few exceptions, it's a good thing. Not everyone is intelligent enough to learn certain languages, nor do we HAVE TO learn obscure languages in order to communicate better with people from certain parts of the world. Don't worry, the big languages will never die and this is why we have to focus on learning at least one of them instead of learning God knows what obscure language that we'll never use in real life.

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Wow, what an informative and interesting article! Thanks so much for sharing, @anna3101.  While this article is tragic, it's merely confirming my fears which I've had for a while now with regards to my language. It's even scarier for me because it's happening right before my eyes and I see evidence of my language disappearing. More and more people here prefer to speak English over our own language, meaning a lot of them struggle to speak their own language. It's particularly worse among teens and those in their 20's. It certainly doesn't help matters that it' only spoken here, where the population is not even 3 million. Super scary and so very heart breaking!!

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I don't think so at all, in fact I think it's going to improve. We have a steady influx of people who are coming into our country speaking different languages, and a lot of schools are now teaching bi-lingual classes at a very early age so it is easier for the child to adapt to different languages. I think we will see it picking up. 

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I think that some lesser-used languages will be dying off. It is natural, and has happened even centuries back before we had technology. The more people who are wanting to be 'connected' to the rest of the world and moving into city centers (or in this age, going online to communicate and do business), the more they will want to learn the main languages that are spoken by most. However, that doesn't mean that these languages will be lost forever. In the same sense that Latin is really not spoken anymore, it is still a known language, and is in fact, still taught. For any language that has a written alphabet, there will probably be semblance of still in existence forever, although it may not be at all popular.

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Unfortunately I think that language will die out more and more.  I think it is because he world is sharing more and more with each other and finding it easier to communicate is certain languages, this is no necessarily a bad thing but I am worried that cultural will die out with it. 

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I think it's inevitable that some languages will be obsolete, because some are not really being used anyway, so what's the point of making it "alive" so to speak, right? So no doubt that trend is gonna stay and only the active languages being used are the ones that will remain in the future.

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This is actually a tragedy, please watch this video to understand why, when a language dies we not only lose the language itself but a paradigm, a way to watch and understand the world that the culture that developed the language had. 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

That is the effect of globalization. I suppose countries with weaker economies will tend to focus on strengthening their citizen's proficiency in learning international languages such as English. In my country, English is taught alongside our native language because we need to be globally competitive in order to sustain our economy. A language need not die if the country's leaders only know how to value their nation's heritage and self-identity. 

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Not really @babelle, my country is one of the most powerful and riches countries of Europe economically and we still focus on English a lot.
90% of the people in the Netherlands are fluent in English, we even use certain words from English in our vocabulary to (optionally) replace the original Dutch words.

Like to describe video games, we do say "spelletjes" occasionally, but "games" is far more commonly used.
Or "tijdschrift", which is commonly replaced with "magazine".

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Just on the British Isles the number of languages officially classed as severley/critically endangered stands at 6: Cornish, Manx, Guernesiais, Sercquiais, Augeron and Jerriais.

Sercquiais and Augeron will probably both be classed as extinct in 10-20 years. The influx of people to the Channel Islands from the British mainland who spoke English crushed those languages.

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