Endangered Languages


An endangered language is a language that is at risk of no longer being used, as its speakers shift to another language or die out. Language endangerment is a serious concern. For a variety of reasons, speakers of many smaller, less dominant languages stop using their heritage language and begin using a more dominant language. Parents may begin to use only that more dominant language with their children and thus the intergenerational transmission of the heritage language is stopped. As a consequence there are fewer speakers who use the language as their first or primary language and eventually the language may no longer be used at all.

A language may become dormant or extinct, existing perhaps only in recordings or written records and transcriptions. Languages which have not been adequately documented disappear altogether. This is why Language and Culture Documentation is so important.

Assessing whether a language is healthy or in a state of decline, language vitality assessment, is crucial to language development projects involving languages that are diminishing in vitality.

Why Care about Endangered Languages?

Resources on Endangered Languages

Explore more on Endangered Languages on the WORLD MAP >>