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15.10.2013

There are about 6000 languages in the world, with 80 percent of them being under the threat of extinction: one language dies every 15 days.
From 500 to 3000 languages will be left on the Earth in one hundred years. This is an alarming forecast, which was presented by UNESCO. “97 percent of the people speak 4 percent of world languages. It means that language variety of the mankind is provided by a tiny minority of the world population,” the report of UNESCO group of experts in languages, which are becoming extinct, says.
Experts cannot clearly explain yet what the danger of such rapid disappearance of languages is exactly. Many of them even see a natural process in that, with no threat to the mankind. However the facts show that there is a threat. First: depauperation of expressions and phrases as well as disappearance of cultures. Neither the English language, nor the French language can boast of such possibilities as there are in, for example, the Eskimo language with more than twenty words for describing snow only. And none of the modern giant languages are able to take upon themselves all the world variety of songs, verses and literature, existing with small vanishing people.

Second: a giant layer of exclusive knowledge of nature and environment disappears with disappearing of languages. Just imagine that we are indebted to the Samoan language and people speaking it for the discovery of the first drug for HIV-1, as they are familiar with the curative properties of Homalanthus Nutans plant.
Third: the modern science of the environment is based on the experience of ancestors, speaking rare languages. For example, all world homeopathy exists thanks to natural knowledge of small people and knowledge of their languages.
It is interesting that the process of creation of new artificial languages goes at the same time with extinction of rare languages. Their number exceeds one hundred already, but none of them could manage to become internationally popular and become a language of everyday communications of the people. The Rossiyskaya Gazeta correspondent counted 28 artificial languages, which appeared during the last 20 years, and there is even the “Slovio” language, created to help Slavic speakers intercommunicate. However, strange though it may seem, it is even not known on the territories of these people.
Source: http://www.edu.ru/index.php?page_id=5&topic_id=7&sid=29843