UNESCO includes Greenlandic languages on endangered list

greenland-flagThe United Nations culture agency has declared that two variations of the Greenlandic language are facing potential extinction.

Sermitsiaq reports that UNESCO, the UN organisation for culture, has predicted that ten percent of the languages used around the globe will disappear over the next one hundred years, including North and East Greenlandic.

The declaration comes in the publication of the UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, which also warns that West Greenlandic is considered ‘vulnerable’. East and North Greenlandic are deemed to be ‘definitely endangered’.

Peter Bakker, a Danish language expert, says the mapping of the health of the languages of the world and their long-term survival prospects was a smart move. In all, some 2,400 languages are considered endangered by UNESCO. “Dead languages give social problems,” said Bakker. “People who lose a language lose an understanding of their social status and live their lives without a part of their identity.”

In releasing the new world atlas, UNESCO hopes to educate younger generations into the importance of maintaining traditional languages, with ethnic groups benefiting from a greater background of their origin. UNESCO has also expressed hopes that the website which showcases the language atlas will also serve as a fundraising tool for the ongoing documentation of global culture and assist museums to promote languages that are in danger.

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