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Dying languages: Can they be saved?

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"Took away our native tongue/And taught their English to our young …" ― from "Indian Reservation," by John D. Loudermilk.

By Danny Tyree

According to the United Nations, there are about 6,500 distinct languages (not just dialects) spoken throughout the world. And half of those languages are in danger of disappearing by the next century.

That's right: One language becomes extinct every two weeks! Which means somewhere, right now, someone is smacking his forehead and muttering, "I knew I should have read the shopping list a day sooner."

Sometimes languages disappear because the tribes or ethnic groups who spoke them were tiny to start with and couldn't outlast famine, flooding or a protracted war of the sexes. ("What part of 'uytrpkmnjnxw' do you not understand?")

Sometimes languages disappear because the speakers did not appreciate their uniqueness until it was too late. ("How come nobody told me we are........

© The Korea Times