LANGUAGE: A HUMAN RIGHT
How indigenous peoples protect their threatened languages (Report No.87)
Of the 7,000 languages worldwide, many are under serious threat. 4,000 of these languages are spoken by the earth's 370 million indigenous people. As the majority of the indigenous languages are only passed on in spoken form, they are especially likely to disappear. Linguists assume that there will only be 3,000 languages left by the end of the 21st century.
A language is an anchor of collective and cultural identity, and languages serve to pass on knowledge systems of entire cultures. When languages are lost, humanity loses large parts of centuries-old traditions – and the indigenous people lose their collective identity.