Languages are always changing but in many cases the life of a language ends.
In many areas of the world, economic, military, social and other pressures are
causing communities to stop speaking their traditional languages, and turn to other,
typically more dominant, languages.
This can be a social, cultural and scientific
disaster because languages express the unique knowledge, history and worldview of
their communities; and each language is a specially evolved variation of the human
capacity for communication.
Today, there are about 6,500 languages and at least half of those are under threat
of extinction within 50 to 100 years. Responses to this problem include local language maintenance and revival programmes,
and language documentation.
See our projects page for information about the documentation projects supported
by ELDP, the granting component of the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project.