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Losing Languages

Only Available in Archive Formats.
Losing Languages

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Losing Languages

Lost and Found Sound: the Majority Worldwide Face Extinction

Losing Languages

Only Available in Archive Formats.
Painting of the Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel, between 1525 and 1569.

The Tower of Babel Pieter Bruegel (about 1525-69) Nicolas Pioch at the WebMuseum hide caption

toggle caption Nicolas Pioch at the WebMuseum

Produced by Dean Olsher and Art Silverman.

More than half of the world's languages are spoken by fewer than ten-thousand people. That means as many as 90 to 95 percent of the languages could be headed toward extinction in the next century.

The languages which dominate are used in the media, and to make money. People often choose to let go of their language in favor of assimilation. Reporting for Lost and Found Sound, NPR's Dean Olsher finds experts who are split on the issue: some want language to find their own course, others want to prop up our modern-day Hi-Rise of Babel.

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