Language Vitality

"Two Centuries of Global Language Loss: A poster featuring Dr. Gary Simons' research on this topic is now available."

Click to download a pdf

EGIDS (the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale) is a tool for assessing the vitality of languages. Based on a number of key factors, a number and color code is assigned to each language. Diagnostic criteria include questions such as, “Are children speaking this language?” and “What language development activities are currently in process?” 

How strong is your language?  Choose a description below that best fits your language or look up your language on the Ethnologue> website to find the EGIDS ranking assigned to it. The Ethnologue entry will show where your language is on the chart.

The EGIDS levels are grouped as follows:

  Purple = Institutional (EGIDS 0-4) — The language has been developed to the point that it is used and sustained by institutions beyond the home and community.

  Blue = Developing (EGIDS 5) — The language is in vigorous use, with literature in a standardized form being used by some though this is not yet widespread or sustainable.

  Green = Vigorous (EGIDS 6a) — The language is unstandardized and in vigorous use among all generations.

  Yellow = In trouble (EGIDS 6b-7) — Intergenerational transmission is in the process of being broken, but the child-bearing generation can still use the language so it is possible that revitalization efforts could restore transmission of the language in the home.

  Red = Dying (EGIDS 8a-9) — The only fluent users (if any) are older than child-bearing age, so it is too late to restore natural intergenerational transmission through the home; a mechanism outside the home would need to be developed.

  Black = Extinct (EGIDS 10) — The language has fallen completely out of use and no one retains a sense of ethnic identity associated with the language.

*Note: Each of the world's 7,111 known living languages are positioned on this chart to represent their vitality. A gray dot represents a single language, a black dot indicates 2 - 5 languages. Languages with more speakers are less likely to be endangered, whereas languages with fewer speakers are more likely to be endangered.