You probably know that many of the world's plants and animals are in danger of extinction, but did you know that many human languages are in danger of becoming extinct, too?
Globalization has helped to make the world a smaller place. But it has also contributed to the loss of many languages around the world. Now only 10 languages make up over half the world population's mother languages. Once there were about 8000 different languages spoken on our planet. Now there are only about 6500, and half of them are endangered. In fact, every two weeks another language disappears forever!
Languages are important. They do much more than help people communicate. A language helps define a culture, history and ancestry of a group of people. Once a language is lost, humanity loses a part of our rich culture and heritage. Helping to preserve endangered languages is important to keep traditions alive.
UNESCO promotes events and activities on International Mother Language Day on February 21 to help encourage the recognition and celebration of the diverse heritage of humanity's mother tongues, especially minority ones, and to raise awareness about the need to preserve endangered languages. The Day provides a wonderful opportunity to discover and celebrate the rich diversity of languages spoken in our own communities.