Are Dying Languages Worth Saving?

Why should endangered languages be saved? Delegates at the Trinity College Carmarthen conference explain – using nine different languages.

Language experts are gathering at a university in the UK to discuss saving the world’s endangered languages. But is it worth keeping alive dialects that are sometimes only spoken by a handful of people, asks Tom de Castella?

“Language is the dress of thought,” Samuel Johnson once said.

About 6,000 different languages are spoken around the world. But the Foundation for Endangered Languages estimates that between 500 and 1,000 of those are spoken by only a handful of people. And every year the world loses around 25 mother tongues. That equates to losing 250 languages over a decade – a sad prospect for some.

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