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06.07.2015 - Communication & Information Sector

New updates available at the Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger

UNESCO’s online tool for monitoring endangered languages has integrated new information and resources provided by users worldwide.

Thirty-seven languages were updated in the first months of 2015. Some language updates show a higher level of endangerment. It is the case of Vote, an Uralic language spoken in the Russian Federation. The number of speakers of Vote has decreased from of 20 to only 15 speakers.

Other languages show encouraging improvements. Recent information led to consider Sarcee and Yucatec as languages in process of revitalization. Sarcee is a language from the Eyak-Athabascan family, spoken in Alberta, Canada. It has only 150 speakers left, according to the 2006 Census. Yucatec, also known as Yucatan Maya, is a language spoken in the peninsular area of Belize. Currently, Yucatec is used in different revitalization initiatives: public broadcasting (radio and television), satellite television, and some teaching in schools.

Several other languages entries like Asturian-Leonese, Gascon, Cornish, Han (Canada), Jersey French or Pitjantjatjara were enriched with new  resources, bibliography and links.

According to Christopher Moseley, editor in chief of the Atlas, “speakers and community members’ contributions are valuable because they may provide grounded and quality information about the endangerment situation of the languages, and in particular about the endangerment factors associated with attrition or revitalization processes”.

UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger intends to raise awareness about language endangerment as a global problem, and to help mobilize speakers and community members to develop grass-roots initiatives to revitalize their respective languages, through cultural, educational, media or other supports. 

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