Are you fascinated by the diversity of languages in the world, and saddened by how many of them are dying? According to the National Geographic, a language dies every two weeks. Why does this matter?
Language defines a culture, through both the people who speak it and what it allows speakers to say. Words that describe a particular cultural practice or idea rarely translate precisely into another language. Many endangered languages have rich oral cultures with stories, songs, and histories passed on to younger generations, but no written forms. With the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost.
Every 14 days a language dies. By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth—many of them never yet recorded—will likely disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and how the human brain works.
National Geographic’s Enduring Voices Project strives to preserve endangered languages by identifying language hotspots—the places on our planet with the most unique, poorly understood, or threatened indigenous languages—and documenting the languages and cultures within them.
Among the world’s disappearing tongues is northern Australia’s Magati Ke—still spoken by 70-something “Old Man” Patrick Nanudjul.
The main purpose of this website is to provide information about the language families of the world and their most important and populous members, including their history, status, their linguistic characteristics, and their writing in as simple and concise a way as possible. We base this website on the belief that all languages have evolved from the need of human beings to express their thoughts, beliefs, and desires, that all languages meet the social, psychological, and survival needs of people who use them. In this sense, all languages, no matter how small and remote, are equal. All equally deserve study because all of them provide valuable insights into human nature.
Some features …
Language Listing (introduction / structure / writing / resources); Interactive Language Map; Test your knowledge about the languages of the world
Then there are constructed or artificial languages, also known as conlang. See these Wikipedia entries: Constructed language; List of constructed languages (Read about such languages as Volapük; Esperanto; Idiom Neutral; Latino sine flexione; Ido; Occidental; Novial; Glosa and Interlingua)