Endangered languages?There are several organizations whose mission is to document and collect data on the world's languages, from dormant to endangered. UNESCO says that half of the world’s languages will disappear by 2100. That means over 3000 languages wiped out from the face of the Earth. A quick look at the work of organizations like The Endangered Languages Project shows that in countries like Spain there are at least 6 languages which may disappear soon as a result of cultural colonialism (and they are not Basque, Catalan or Galician), just like in other places it will be globalization, war or climate change. The Foundation for Endangered Languages does not provide a more optimistic outlook. Whilst "world" languages such as English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, etc., are becoming increasingly valuable, small tribal languages become endangered. Minority languages in Europe do not fare better. Out of its 287 languages, 52 are categorized as dying and a further 50 are in danger. The Times of India reports that India has lost 20% of its languages since 1961.
Why do languages become extinct?
Many of today's endangered languages are tribal. This means that they are spoken by a small group of people who have been colonized by a large, sometimes foreign, invader. Historically, colonial powers such as the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal have made their languages dominant in the Americas and Asia. But let's look at Northern Cameroon, where Ngong is close to extinction with only two speakers. The menace comes from other near populations, not from colonial French.
Regions that have lived under foreign rule have some of the highest rates of endangered languages. For instance, although Greenland has a national language Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) spoken by practically all 50,000 inhabitants, most are bilingual and speak Danish as well since Danish is the language considered important for social mobility. The same can be said about the effects of Spanish on Catalan, Galician and Basque in Spain.