According to a September 20, 2007, article on the Courrier International website, a forthcoming study in the October edition of National Geographic magazine has identified five regions where many languages are particularly threatened—eastern Siberia, northern Australia, central South America, the southwestern United States (Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico) and North America’s Pacific Northwest region. According to Courrier International, the study shows that: “Of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, linguists say, nearly half are in danger of extinction and likely to disappear in this century. In fact, one falls out of use about every two weeks.”
Clearly, the disappearance of many of the world’s spoken languages is an issue for one of the provisions of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which states that “linguistic diversity is a fundamental element of cultural diversity.” You can read more of this fascinating article once it appears in print. We hope it will provide you with some food for thought on some of the creative solutions being developed to ensure that cultures remain vibrant for all, including minorities and Native peoples.