OPINION

Losing languages

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hafielyas@yahoo.com

One language disappears every two weeks in the world, informs the press service of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The information has been published in the world atlas of languages threatened with extinction for the first time.
The atlas contains information about more than 2.5 thousand languages. Its publication is dated for the international Mother Tongue Day celebrated on February 21.

People speak more than 6 thousand languages all over the world now. However, 96% of the languages are spoken by only 4% of the planet’s population. Almost half of the languages are threatened with extinction. Thousands of languages are not used in education systems and are not represented on the Internet.

Researchers in Sudan and volunteers from local communities are struggling to prevent the extinction of more than 70 local languages spread across the country after the extinction of Alberti and Mima languages in a country plagued by complaints of marginalization.

Sudan has more than 400 different tribes and diverse cultures with more than 500 local dialects, which presents important challenges in managing and benefiting from diversity.

According to researchers, the risk of the death of these languages, which have been resisting migrations and wars, necessarily means the extinction of a huge amount of heritage and secrets of the languages of the most vulnerable communities.

All endangered languages are concentrated in the southern states of South Kordofan (particularly the Nuba Mountains) and Blue Nile state bordering Ethiopia, in Sudan’s far southeast.

Four Sudanese languages are at high risk of disappearance, with fewer than a thousand speakers each: Hujairat (50 people), Mulu (about 100), Aka (a few hundred) and Lvovo (600).

Losing these languages means losing a great part of our human heritage, because languages are much more than spoken or written words and sentences – they are also the means through which cultures, knowledge, and traditions are preserved and transmitted between generations.

Any country believes in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity to build sustainable societies. As part of the efforts to fulfil its mandate of peace,
Differences in cultures and languages must be preserved in order to promote tolerance and respect for others, as they are the basis for the existence of multilingual and multicultural societies, and they are the means by which cultures and traditional knowledge can be preserved and disseminated in a sustainable manner.

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