You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) using Archive-It. This page was captured on 11:30:27 Dec 17, 2015, and is part of the UNESCO collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Loading media information hide

Endangered languages

Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger

©Google / ©UNESCO
Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger

It is estimated that, if nothing is done, half of 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century. With the disappearance of unwritten and undocumented languages, humanity would lose not only a cultural wealth but also important ancestral knowledge embedded, in particular, in indigenous languages.

However, this process is neither inevitable nor irreversible: well-planned and implemented language policies can bolster the ongoing efforts of speaker communities to maintain or revitalize their mother tongues and pass them on to younger generations.The aim of UNESCO’s Endangered Languages Programme is to support communities, experts and governments by producing, coordinating and  disseminating :

  • tools for monitoring, advocacy, and assessment of status and trends in linguistic diversity,
  • services such as policy advice, technical expertise and training, good practices and a platform for exchange and transfer of skills.

UNESCO's flagship activity in safeguarding endangered languages is the Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.

Back to top