French and German are the languages

Forgotten words: when languages ​​die

Press release

Why languages ​​are disappearing and how they can be protected.

Düsseldorf, July 18, 2019.A saying goes: Language is the key to culture. But what happens to the culture when the language no longer exists? According to experts, when a language dies, the traditions and values ​​of a community are also lost. Those affected often experience this as a traumatic loss of their own identity. It is all the more important to save the world's languages ​​from extinction. But why are languages ​​dying out at all - and how can they be protected?

The power play of languages

There are currently around 6,500 languages ​​in our world, around a third of which are endangered and almost 600 are acutely endangered. "Most of the endangered languages ​​are spoken by minorities and are often replaced by dominant languages ​​such as English, Spanish or French," explains language expert Niklas Kukat, who is also the managing director of the language travel company EF Education Deutschland GmbH. The company arranges language and educational trips worldwide and aims to build bridges between cultures and thus preserve languages. According to Kukat, indigenous languages ​​that are only spoken by a few, mostly older speakers, are particularly threatened with extinction. If these are not passed on to the new generation, there is a risk of speech death. This has a very simple economic background, says Kukat: "For young people, world languages ​​are more attractive because they ultimately offer them the most advantages."

Nigeria, for example, comprises around 500 different languages ​​and dialects. During the colonial days, English was established here as the official language and was not replaced even after independence. Indigenous languages ​​automatically fade into the background. There are countless examples around the world with a similar course. UNESCO therefore estimates that over half of all languages ​​will disappear by the end of the 21st century.

Keeping languages ​​alive

The good news is that languages ​​can be saved. Many linguists therefore endeavor to record and document endangered languages. But this does not keep them alive. They then continue to exist as a dead language, such as the former world language Latin. “Language has to stay alive,” says Niklas Kukat. First of all, media presence can positively increase the reputation of a language. Much more important, however, is to promote multilingualism among the world's population. “Bilingual teaching is an essential key to protecting languages,” says Kukat, citing Sater Frisian as an example, an endangered language that in Germany is only spoken by an older minority in the Oldenburg district. Today, Sater Frisian is offered again in schools in the region and is thus kept alive. This measure gives hope and serves as a model for the worldwide protection of languages ​​as a building block of our culture and identity, said Kukat.

Information on language trips and educational offers from EF Education First is available at www.ef.de/pg/sprachreisen.

About EF Education First

EF Education First is an international education company focused on language, science, cultural exchange and educational travel. The company has been based in Germany since 1969 and has its largest location with 70 employees in Düsseldorf. With the aim of making the world accessible through education, EF was formerly founded as "Europeiska Ferieskolan" (German: European Holiday School) in 1965 by the Swede Bertil Hult. In 1990, the acronym EF was changed to Education First to reflect the global nature of the company. Today, EF operates 580 schools and offices in more than 50 countries around the world to help high school students, college students and adults achieve their language goals abroad.

Contact

Charlotte Seebode
tts agentur05 GmbH
Tel: +49 (0) 221 925454-814
Email: [email protected]

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Press information

Contact

Charlotte Seebode
tts agentur05 GmbH
Tel: +49 (0) 221 925454-814
Email: [email protected]

EF fact sheet