Language Extinction Is Driven By Economic Growth

What are the main drivers and repercussions behind the extinction of the worlds minority languages?

It’s estimated that by the year 2100, over half of the Planet Earth’s 7000 languages – many of them not yet even recorded – may disappear.  With a different tongue dying approximately every 2 weeks, it would appear that languages are becoming extinct even faster than animal species are!

A language is considered to be endangered when parents are no longer teaching it to their children, and it is no longer being actively used in everyday life. A language is considered to be nearly extinct when it is spoken by only a few elderly native speakers.

“Many endangered languages have rich oral cultures with stories, songs, and histories passed on to younger generations, but no written forms. With the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost.”

Is Australia Guilty of “Linguistic Paranoia”?

Having taught languages to children and young adults in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, I was very interested in an article that I read yesterday by Misty Adoniou, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Canberra.

The article considers whether Australians have “linguistic paranoia” and, as a country, is happy to be multicultural but remains largely monolingual.
(The definition of paranoia: unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people.)

We now teach languages to thousands of 2-12 year olds across Australia in six states and our team of passionate and highly enthusiastic linguists continue to promote the benefits of early language learning – particularly for the young brain.

We consider ourselves to be “creating global citizens” and over the last ten years the climate has been slowly changing. Australians can no longer consider themselves cut off from the rest of the world. To compete, with advantage, on a global platform, Australian children need to be exposed to at least one other language – and the younger they start… the better!

By Nickie Race-Jones
LCF Fun Languages Australia