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UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger

The latest edition of the Atlas (2010, available in English, French and Spanish)

The latest edition of the Atlas (2010, available in English, French and Spanish)

UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is intended to raise awareness about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity among policy-makers, speaker communities and the general public, and to be a tool to monitor the status of endangered languages and the trends in linguistic diversity at the global level.

Government of Norway

With the support of the Government of Norway

The latest edition of the Atlas (2010, available in English, French and Spanish from UNESCO Publishing), was made possible thanks to the support of the Government of Norway, and lists about 2,500 languages (among which 230 languages extinct since 1950), approaching the generally-accepted estimate of some 3,000 endangered languages worldwide. For each language, the print Atlas provides its name, degree of endangerment (see below) and the country or countries where it is spoken.

The online edition provides additional information on numbers of speakers, relevant policies and projects, sources, ISO codes and geographic coordinates. This free Internet-based version of the Atlas for the first time permits wide accessibility and allows for interactivity and timely updating of information, based on feedback provided by users.

  Degree of endangerment Intergenerational Language Transmission
  safe language is spoken by all generations; intergenerational transmission is uninterrupted >> not included in the Atlas
Vulnerable vulnerable most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g., home)
Definitely endangered definitely endangered children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home
Severely endangered severely endangered language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves
Critically endangered critically endangered the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently
Extinct extinct there are no speakers left >> included in the Atlas if presumably extinct since the 1950s


The interactive online edition of the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is complementary to the print edition and may be cited as:

  • Moseley, Christopher (ed.). 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 3rd edn. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Online version.  

The Launch Ceremony of Joint Partnership “World Atlas of Languages” and The Roundtable Discussion “Language matters for development”

8 July 2016 in Beijing, People’s Republic of China

UNESCO and Talkmate host an official launch event to celebrate the beginning of a new and exciting partnership on the development of the World Atlas of Languages. The joint partnership aims at developing innovative and scalable ICT-supported models to access data on linguistic diversity around the world, encourage collaboration among different stakeholders and raise awareness on the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism for sustainable and inclusive development.

Building on the existing UNESCO’s Atlas of Languages in Danger, a new online collaborative platform “World Atlas of Languages” will provide a wide range of technical and collaborative facilities to all stakeholders to access and share own data on linguistic diversity, information about good practices, existing language teaching and learning solutions, and host user-generated content.

UNESCO and Talkmate launch event brings together a number of leading scientists, governmental officials, public and private organizations, UN organizations, as well as civil society to raise awareness of all stakeholders on the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism for sustainable and inclusive development. Accordingly, the thematic roundtable on “Language matters for development” assesses the current situation of linguistic diversity, identify existing challenges and new opportunities arising from scientific and technological development, and exchange the scientific information among higher educational institutions, national public institutions on language linguistic diversity, and application of languages in different domains, as well as form a new institutional network working on language issues.  

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