University Professor: In 41 years, 90% of mankind’s languages will disappear!
In 41 years, 90% of mankind’s languages will disappear! Yesterday (10th), Southwest University for Nationalities College of Liberal Arts professor and famous poet Luo Qing Chun made these shocking remarks as a guest on 《成都故事百家谈》 ["Chengdu Story 100 Family Talk"], while expressing his hopes for establishing a “language museum.”
3% of the entire world’s population speaks 96% of the world’s languages
“Of over 6000 different languages in the world, at least 3000 face the risk of disappearing. A report predicts that by 2050, 90% of human languages will have disappeared from the earth.” UNESCO representative “bi si ta” [a Chinese version of foreign name] pointed out during “the 2008 international language year and the 9th international mother language day” forum that declining minority languages are under attack from more dominant languages, the internet, and even globalization, and are now under the threat of extinction.
According to statistics, there are more than 6,000 languages registered by the United Nations, and the languages that 97% of the world’s people use only make up 4% of the world’s total languages — that is to say, 3% of the world’s population speak 96% of the world’s languages. In addition, half of languages are spoken by less than 10,000 people, and 1/4 of the languages are spoken by less than 1000 people. In China, there are 5 language families with over 130 different languages, but currently 19 languages show signs of being endangered and lacking vitality, while 73 kinds are trending towards becoming or are endangered, and 8 languages have totally lost social function.
Internet accelerating language extinction
“Protection for languages that cannot be replaced should receive the attention of the world’s people in the same way as endangered species and global warming,” said Wang Tie Kun, the deputy director of language information management for the Ministry of Education.
In regards to this, the honorary president of the China Languages Society, Sun Hong Kai, said the reasons behind weakening minority languages are related to global economic integration, communication, media and information technology development, the increasing interaction between ethnic groups, etc. Inner Mongolia University vice-principal, specializing in the research of the Hogjilt [a place in Inner Mongolia] minority language, believes that the use of the internet is the primary cause of acceleration of the demise of ethnic languages.
Similar viewpoints are also found in a UNESCO report. This report indicates that although high technology has brought greater convenience in people’s lives, it is also accelerating the “extinction” of some languages, resulting in the tendancy for the world’s languages uniting into one, and causing all of the worlds language characters to become the same and the destruction of language diversity.
At the time of current analysis with languages circumstances of existence and extinction, Luo Qing Chun believes that it is necessary through various means to protect language, through education, Media and many other forms. He proposes carrying out protection measures for mother languages through the creation of museums, artifact exhibitions, costume and performances, family museums, private collecions, etc.
Don’t tell me that you miss the languages of the “ape-man” times~!!
Chinese also will soon vanish, replaced by English.
Language is only for the purpose of convenient communication, one kind is enough.
just with the level of importance attached to English in China’s current education system, Chinese is in perilous danger~~
Chinese is about to disappear… everyone is learning English…
Chinese will always exist.
Having so many languages is a barrier to human communication,
just like there are many people within the country who don’t speak Putonghua [Mandarin].
It would be best if the entire world used a common language.
[A language] becoming extinct would still be a pity.
What should die out should die out…an single common language would be a good thing…too many languages only bring inconvenience to communications.
I support the “lou zhu.”
Personally, this is like a sign of civilization’s progress.
Of course, building a language museum to protect the material of some extinct or near-extinct languages is also necessary.
同一个世界同一种语言！[One world one language!]
I also have something to say: Right now, the ratio of men is unceasingly increasing. In 99 years, the world will only have one type of people — men.
If China can become the dominant world economy, Chinese will also resemble English, everyone will be studying it!
Actually the greatest population is China, so Chinese [language] should not disappear. No matter what, how could our countrymen throw away their own language?
England has only been around for how many years. So how was it that their language became an international language? Because of America’s strength and power. If China can also become powerful, then Chinese will become an international language.