Linguists predict that over half of the almost 7,000 languages spoken in the world today will disappear by the end of the century. According to Ethnologue, 473 languages currently are close to extinction. In the Americas alone, 182 are endangered.
The Rosetta Project created this map to highlight the near-extinct languages in Africa and the Americas. They are working to update the map to include the entire world.
Click below to view UNESCO’s interactive map of endangered languages around the world:
The blog Repeating Islands writes about Berbice Dutch, a language spoken in Guyana that was recently declared extinct:
Berbice Dutch is a mixture of the Zeeland dialect of Dutch, the local Arawak Indian language, and Ijo, which was spoken by slaves from Nigeria… The last speakers of this language were found in the 1970s by Ian Robertson, living on the upper reaches of the Berbice River in and around the area of the Wiruni Creek. The last known Berbice Dutch Creole speaker was Bertha Bell, who was 103 years old when last interviewed by Ian Robertson and a UWI linguistics research team in March, 2004. She died in 2005.
Linguist Hubert Devonish explains the dying language and interviews the last speaker of Berbice Dutch:
Listen to a BBC report on Boa Sr, the last speaker of the Bo language, which was spoken by the Bo tribe of the Andaman islands for up to 65,000 years.
The death of an 85-year-old woman in the Andaman islands, part of India but physically closer to Indonesia, has marked the death of an entire language: