10 February 2012 / by Radmila Gurkova

Language - the endangered species


There are 6,500 languages in the world and 3,500 are “endangered”!
How many languages can you think of?

Every two weeks a unique language dies when the last speakers pass away. Mark Turin is an anthropologist working on language death as an academic linguist and has been living within a remote mountain village in Nepal for ten years with a community where they only speak Thanghmi, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by less than 20,000 people. The children in the schools are only taught Nepali, which makes the village language a threat for extinction.

There are many languages that have expired and have limited use today – The Laghu which was spoken in the Solomon Islands until it disappeared in 1984 or the Old Kent Sign Language which was a precursor for the modern day version and Gamilaraay which is still used by the tribe of New South Wales.

So make sure you keep your language alive and others too by learning more than your own!


  • How many languages do you want to speak?

  • Would you like to learn Sign Language?

  • How long would it take you to learn 6,500 languages?


Word Image Definition Example Listen
Endangered Threatened with danger The bald Eagle may be endangered Listen
Unique Existing as the only one or as a sole example This is a unique product Listen
Threat   An indication or warning of trouble Al-Qaeda is a threat to our safety Listen
Extinction   The act or process of dying out The extinction of a species Listen
Linguist A person who is skilled in many languages He could speak to 20 nations Listen
Speak To communicate vocally To speak to a person of various matters. Listen
Taught The past for teach They taught themselves to play music. Listen


Click here to learn about the word 'eventually' 

Click here to see the post on the 'past perfect tense'


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