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Languages Racing to Extinction in 5 Global “Hotspots”

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From Alaska to Australia, hundreds of languages around the world are teetering on the brink of extinction – some being spoken only by a single person, according to a new study.

The research has revealed five hotspots where languages are vanishing most rapidly: eastern Siberia, northern Australia, central South America, Oklahoma, and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

mapMore than half of the world’s 7,000 languages are expected to die out by the end of the century, often taking with them irreplaceable knowledge about the natural environment. Most of what we know about localised species and ecosystems has not been recorded, it is passed on as human knowledge from person to person.

In the last 500 years, an estimated half of the world’s languages, from Etruscan to Tasmanian, have become extinct. It is estimated that more than 500 of the world’s languages may be spoken by fewer than ten people.

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