A language dies about every two weeks and thousands are at risk, warned linguists, who yesterday identified five global hotspots where languages are most endangered. Several native American languages are dying out in the Southwest and regions including British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Indigenous communication is also vanishing in rural Australia, Siberia and central South America.
“When we lose a language, we lose centuries of human thinking about time, seasons, sea creatures, reindeer, mathematics, myths, the unknown and the everyday,” said one professor. Experts say the trouble starts when a community decides its language is an impediment and switches to a widely spoken language. The only solution is to develop a new generation of speakers.