Dying languages


This is heart-breaking and uplifting at the same time: Ethnologue, Languages of the World [via BoingBoing] lists thousands of languages, where they are spoken, and how many people still speak it. The diversity is staggering, as are some of the names: anyone here from Mali who speaks Xaasongaxango? But a depressing number of the entries are labelled "extinct" or "nearly extinct". It's really sad that all these local languages are being lost. When you lose a language, you lose a culture and a history, as language colours so much of how a community sees the world and interacts with it. If I could find a "Xaasongaxango for Dummies" book (and I wasn't so utterly rubbish at learning languages), I'd learn it just to try to stop it disappearing entirely.