Talk:Lists of endangered languages

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I added the link to the Red Book, both as a resource for readers and for contributors. The .jp URL is the official one for UNESCO; this page on the site points to it. --ESP 22:02, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Basque and Catalan should be removed. They may have been endangered in the 19th century, but there are now even televisions using them full-time.

I came here to comment on those two languages. Even if they are on the decline in France, they are very much alive in Spain. I will be bold and remove. [[User:Nricardo|Nelson Ricardo >>SpeakToMe<<]] 06:06, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)

What? Basque really is an endangered language! Heverybody knows that. Most basques cant speak Basque! basque should be reincluded it is even in the red book. Please stop guessing.

  1. Variant(s): (in Basque) Euskara
  1. Geographical location: Spain: Basque Country including Navarra; France: department of Pyrénées Atlantiques
  1. Relationships: isolate
  1. Present state of the language: ENDANGERED
Pedro 18:37, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Basque is firmly established as a written and printed medium, and used in present-day forms of publication and communication, as well as being a language spoken and used in a very wide range of social and cultural contexts, styles, and registers. Most importantly, children are learning it in increasing numbers. It does not fulfill anyone's criteria for an endangered language. Furthermore, I would argue that placing such languages as Basque and Catalan on a list of Endangered Languages not only contributes to the net amount of bad information on wikipedia (of which there is already far too much), but also trivializes and cheapens the extremely dire plight of languages that really are in extreme danger of extinction such as Ainu or, to a lesser degree, Occitan. That said, one could make a good case for the french variety of Basque being in danger, since France's policies in this regard are far more retrograde than those of spain, though I question the notion that this makes Basque endangered as a language. Regarding your assertion that "Most Basques can't speak Basque!" This is irrelevant to the topic at hand, since one cannot judge a language's prospects for future use by the proportion of its historically native population currently speaking it. Moreover, how would you define "Basque?" Someone who is ethnically Basque? Someone living in the Basque country? In any case please do not add Basque to this list unless you have recent, reliable sources to back up your assertions.Szfski (talk) 09:20, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


Why isn't Irish Gaelic on this page. All evidence points to a steady decline in native speakers overthe last 2 centuries. A lot of Irish people (around 1.5 million) speak Gaelic, but this is largely due to the language being learnt in school. Some estimates suggest there are only 30 000 native speakers or fewer.

I agree with you that Irish Gaelic is seriously endangered indeed, but the comiler of the list clearly stated that this list is for languages with fewer than 1,000 speakers. If you list all more or less endangered languages the list will be much longer - in fact, most of the language spoken today are endangered (depending of course both on your definition of language and of endangered). Caesarion 09:35, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
The name for this language in English is Irish - hardly anybody in Ireland calls it 'Gaelic'.

Quiensabe 07:21, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Actually, the list specifies that language in rapid decline (with little transmission to the young) may also be considered endangered. If Irish Gaelic is in that position, then it would qualify. BTW, "Irish Gaelic" helps to distinguish Irish Gaelic from Irish English. Irish could mean either. (Consider Scottish English, Scots, and Scots Gaelic as another example where this distinction is helpful). The Jade Knight 20:39, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Actually, it's Scottish Gaelic, but back on topic: your argument sounds bogus to me. Irish language is at that page for a reason; Gaelic is very rarely used as a name for the language in Ireland, and I have never seen Irish used for Irish English, ever!. Gaelic (in English) usually refers to Scottish Gaelic, unless context dictates otherwise. --Kwekubo 01:23, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
To be honest I would say that the Irish language recently has grown a fair deal and there are all sorts of attempts north and south (particularly north) to revive it, including irish medium education. Also, Gaelic is usually used as the collective term for all the gaelic languages such as scottish, manx, irish, and etc. Gaeilge is used as the name for the Irish Language. Jim-ie 16:41, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm a huge supporter (and an optimistic one, I'd like to think) of Irish, but as far as I'm aware the number of regular, fluent, and native speakers is nowhere near stabilized. It is a very endangered language. There has doubtlessly been a recent resurgence of interest, but I think most realists will tell you that Irish is going to die out within a century or so if the current situtation does not change. And by dying out, I mean that the Gaeltacht will be effectively no different than the Galltacht. Gaelgeoirí are in the minority in most Gaeltachtaí already. It's thrilling to see the slow change in attitude, manifested by phenomena like the gaelscoileanna, but more needs to be done. The situation for Irish is undeniably brighter than that of Gaelic or Breton, but it is in no way ready to be seriously removed from a list of endangered languages (I hear many would argue that neither is Welsh, but that's a different story). Rath Dé ort. Andrew 19:45, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Languages of the Americas[edit]

I've made a country-oriented list, replacing what existed for USA and Canada only. From the prior USA list I've removed the following (reasons given on each case)

*Cowlitz - Extinct (M.D.Kincade [1990]) 
*Eastern Abnaki - The last speaker of Penobscot died in the 1990s. Other dialects also extinct. (Gordon [2005])
*Tagish - No speakers known in USA (included under "Canada"
*Upper Chehalis - Extinct (Gordon [2005])
*Wappo - Extinct (Gordon [2005])

The list is not yet complete, but better than before. I'll keep checking from other sources and see if new additions are necessary. Cinabrium 07:40, 12 September 2005 (UTC)


Reverted a frivolous deletion of Belarusian language from the list without bothering to examine the issue. Some quotations:

"The state, which from 1991 to 1994 did a great deal to promote both the formerly neglected Belarusian culture and education in the Belarusian language, has practically ceased to support either under Lukashenka. For example, in 1994 there were 220 schools in Minsk whose language of instruction was Belarusian. Two years later, their number had shrunk to fewer than 20. Those students who want to receive a higher education in Belarusian will be hard put to achieve that aim, since Russian is the language of instruction in virtually all university departments in Belarus."
"Lukashenka has made a point of ostentatiously promoting Russian-language and Soviet culture in Belarus. In a widely quoted statement, he once asserted that "one cannot express anything deep in Belarusian."

`'mikka (t) 04:07, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

You have written me yesterday:
I agree that Belarusian doesn't fit wikipedia definition of "endangered language".
Also it's very strange to include one of Top 100 world languages (by popularity) to the "List of endangered languages", while there is over 5000 less popular languages. But if you insist on that, I find no sense to resist. --Alexey Petrov 13:44, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Sources for numbers of speakers! plus Endangered South American languages[edit]


I don't wanna start randomly adding info to the page as it exists. I hope anyone interested can discuss a format for sourcing the "number of speakers" info." If you are among those who added such info... can you dig up your source... as we discuss how to display it?

ALSO a work in progress; please see the table at Endangered South American languages. I hope to get it fully and nicely populated, then move it onto this page. I don't wanna move it until it's done; no reason to confuse the people who view the existing page. Comments appreciated.

--Ling.Nut 23:58, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

wikiproject endangered languages; plus breaking this list into sublists[edit]


I'm proposing a Wikiproject for endangered languages (which may or may not include language revitalization; comments are welcome). A brief proposal is here and skeletal project page is in my user space here. I propose to actually, formally launch this project around Christmas.

Secondly, I would like to suggest breaking this List of endangered languages into subpages -- sometimes by continent, and sometimes by country, depending on how many endangered languages each of those has. Around half (?) of the world's languages are moribund.. far too many for one page. The skeletal project page listed above has links to many lists I am working on.

Thanks --Ling.Nut 17:28, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


what about yiddish many people are speaking hebrew instead and it is dying out —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:24, 16 December 2006 (UTC).

Wikipedia:WikiProject Endangered languages[edit]


Most Rumansch speakers are elderly? I personally know some very young native speakers, and from all I know it is the only medium of instruction in primary schools (note, the medium of instruction, not a subject!). Also, Luxembourgisch is rapidly in decline?! Last I heard it was actually on the rise, pushing German and French out of official positions. From what source is this oubvious nonsense? --Chlämens 00:43, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Your comments underscore the need for verifiability and inline references, which many people in Wikipedia have an almost fetishlike opposition to... --Ling.Nut 20:29, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

(East Frisian) Low Saxon[edit]

I have changed 'East Frisian Low Saxon' to 'Low Saxon'. East Frisian Low Saxon (not to be confused with East Frisian or any form of Frisian) is a sub-group within the family of Low Saxon/Low German languages spoken in Northern Germany and the Northeastern Netherlands. From my own experience and the studies and testimonies I have read, Low Saxon is in significant decline across the board (it has lots of adult speakers, but is far less used among young people).

As an example, this study (in Dutch) mentions plummeting numbers of Drèents speakers where younger and older generations are compared. Since people aren't even in agreement about whether Low Saxon will survive in the course of the next few generations, surely it may be said to be endangered. Ni'jluuseger (talk) 17:01, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


One of the official languages of India with more than 30 million native speakers??? Probably it should be [Judeo-Malayalam] ? Also I see there already was a discussion about Basque. The Basque articles states 700,000 native speakers. There are schools, newspapers and broadcasting. How is it possible to include it in the same list with 6-speakers-languages? the same is true about Catalan. rapid decline? A wealthy person in rapid economic decline should not be included in the list of starving people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:16, 15 April 2008 (UTC)


The notion that Catalan is in rapid decline is a manifest falsity. Heavily subsidized and protected in Spain, it is arguably one of the best-protected minority languages in the world, not to mention the fact that it enjoys sole official status in Andorra. It is being learned by hordes of young people in both of these areas, the regressive policies of France not withstanding. Until someone offers a source or three for why Catalan should be on this list, I'm removing it.Szfski (talk) 08:24, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

List of endangered languages in Asia[edit]

Ditto for "Australia and Pacific" see List of endangered languages in Oceania
Ling.Nut (WP:3IAR) 07:56, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

More babble regarding languages[edit]

347 languages account for 94% of the world population. Languages having over 100000 speakers number 1239, with a coverage of 98,8%. Languages having over 10000 but under 100000 speakers number 1779, some of these are still linguistically important and should be conserved in any case. (talk) 12:31, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing. Got anything useful to share? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:15, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Nah, I guess morels will be what they will be, whatever happens. (talk) 14:58, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
If you take second languages being used on daily base (as only few people arround understand the native language) into account, I'm sure, the number of languages to cover those 98,8% drops much further. For 90% you just need 50 language - that's something like the number of languages having a Wikipedia over 50.000 articles (and I bet, both lists are mostly the same). --TheK (talk) 00:05, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Only nine in Europe?[edit]

Surely there must be more than that. Just think of all the regional languages in France and Italy that are practically defunct. (talk) 02:40, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

  • The Europe list was recently expanded... dramatically. Tks. Ling.Nut3 (talk) 04:54, 2 April 2012 (UTC)