Marking the International Mother Language Day Saturday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released an alarming report saying that among the 7016 languages spoken in the world, at least half are threatened with extinction.
According to the report, the continent with largest share of languages at risk is the America where 64 percent are listed as endangered. According to UNESCO, a language needs at least 100,000 speakers to survive.
In Latin America there are 522 indigenous groups speaking 420 languages, 50.6 percent of which are endangered. In Venezuela, at least 20 indigenous languages are being preserved from the 40 languages spoken by indigenous peoples.
According to experts, as communities lose their language, they often also lose parts of their cultural traditions which are tied to that language, such as songs, myths and poetry. Loosing a language may in turn affect a peoples sense of identity, resulting in weakened social cohesion as a groups values and traditions are replaced with new ones.
UNESCO says that half spoken today will disappear by the end of this century, especially those spoken by indigenous people.