Extinction of Languages Puts Plants and Animals at Risk | LiveScience

The ears of linguists, anthropologists, and conservationists perked up with the recent announcement that the federal government will continue to support the digital documentation of languages on the brink of extinction.

More than half of the world’s 7,000 languages are endangered; many face extinction in the next century.

Interestingly, the projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) could save more than just a few mother tongues. It might also protect plants and animals.

When the nonprofit organization Terralingua mapped the distribution of languages against a map of the world’s biodiversity, it found that the places with the highest concentration of plants and animals, such as the Amazon Basin and the island of New Guinea, were also where people spoke the most languages….

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