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Monday, March 16, 2009

Half the World's Languages Will Vanish by 2100

Globalization has many benefits, but the preservation of the world's languages is decidedly not among them. Ever since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago, smaller tribes have assimilated into bigger ones and seen their native tongues lost, and the process has been speeding up, reports the Washington Post. Of the world's 7,000 languages, more than 2,400 are considered at risk of extinction by UNESCO.

And even more could be extinct—marked by the death of its last primary speaker—by the end of the century, as the spread of English, Spanish, and Russian continues to wipe out native tongues of small indigenous groups. The United States alone has lost 53 languages since the 1950s.

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