World Language Losses at a Glance

From: Dave Gross (
Date: Mon Jun 18 2001 - 22:14:30 BST

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    From: Dave Gross <>
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    This piece has been snipped from an AP sidebar:

    Snapshots of language losses worldwide

    --North America: Eighty percent of the 260 native languages still spoken in
    the United States and Canada aren't being learned by children, one reason
    for language loss. Eyak, native to the coast of Alaska's Prince William
    Sound, has one remaining speaker.

    --South America: Hundreds of languages died as a result of the Spanish
    conquest. About 80 percent of the continent's remaining 640 languages are
    spoken by fewer than 10,000 people each; 27 face extinction. Many languages
    from the Amazon region have fewer than 500 speakers, including Arikapu,
    which has six.

    --Africa: In the birthplace of nearly one-third of the world's languages,
    54 are believed dead, with another 116 nearing extinction.

    --Asia: More than half of Asia's native languages have fewer than 10,000
    speakers each, although 3 billion people, or half the world's population,
    live on the continent.

    --Australia: About 90 percent of its 250 aboriginal languages face

    --Europe: Nearly 90 percent of Russians speak Russian, the language
    enforced during the Soviet era. Consequently, most of the country's 100
    other native languages, nearly all of them Siberian tongues, are near
    extinction, including Udihe.


    Source: Worldwatch Institute.

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