Extinction of Languages

The total number of languages in the world is estimated at 6,000. UNESCO has listed 2,500 of these languages as facing the risk of extinction. The number of speakers of these languages is diminishing for various reasons.

In countries like India, several languages, some of which are spoken by few millions of people like Kurux and Gondi have no script. Kurux speakers, who are concentrated in the provinces of Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, use the script of the majority languages in their states, viz. Hindi, Oriya and Bengali. Kurux is not only spoken in several provinces of India but is an international language spoken in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.Similarly Gondi speakers who are concentrated in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh use the Hindi script.

One way of assisting the endangered languages to survive will be to assist in finding own script for these languages. This would enable people to create literature in their own languages. Of course, people can create literature in a language with a foreign script,(several European languages have nearly similar script) but it would be ideal to have a language with a distinct script to have a distinct identity.

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