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Klaus Esterluß | Marvel with us

Globalisation is cutting the tongue – the high-speed extinction of spoken languages

sign language

sign language – CC BY-SA 2.0 by Valerie Everett via

What do you think, how many languages are spoken worldwide? The sheer number is incredible – 7000 different tongues can be heard all around the world, our #numberoftheweek. Due to our more and more globalized world a lot of these languages are on the brink of extinction.

Thankfully, Tatsuya Amano, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge (UK), and his colleagues have set up a database to document the languages of the world. The database is called Ethnologue and it provides the number and location of surviving fluent speakers – and is the first one to do this on a global scale.

One of the main reasons for a cut in tongues is said to be economic growth. As ZMEScience writes, “young natives flee to burgeoning urban centers to find jobs, the tongues of their ancestors die with the little remaining old populations that still choose to live in their homelands and retain their ancient customs.”

Every two weeks a languages dies with it’s last speaker. And the situation is comparable all around the world. About one quarter of all languages has fewer than 1000 remaining speakers, the ZMEScience states. Linguists think that about 3000 of the almost 7000 languages listed in the Ethnologue archive will become extinct within the next century.


September 3, 2014



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oezcerkesm | Reporter's Log

Recycling in Bali – day 4: Tradition hard-pressed for answers

While shooting for our report about the garbage problem on the island of Bali, we were invited to attend a traditional Hindu dance ceremony in a little village temple. In Bali, Hinduism is blended with a very old religions entrenched in nature. Traditionally, people in the village used to live in balance with nature, like using banana-leafs to package or wrap food.

The dance in the video is a "flirting" dance. It's a way for the children to learn the rules and how to behave. But the traditional rules don't have an answer to the garbage problem. Many people dispose of their rubbish by just throwing it away, because they don't know what else to do. What they told me is, they see the problem and they wait for solutions.

(For those of you keen on finding out what our reporter looks like, check out the video at 1mins08secs.)


January 14, 2011



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