Disappearing Languages: Overview of The Factors and Solutions

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About this sample


Words: 1082 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 1082|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. The Factors of Language Disappearance 
  2. Disappearing Languages: Solutions
  3. Conclusion
  4. References

It is expected that as much as half of the 7,000 languages in the world will have been extinct by the end of the 21st century. Languages at risk, similar to endangered animal species, are at actual danger of extinction (Ostler, 2000, p.1). According to UNESCO, if a language becomes marginalized due to the enforcement of the economic and social situation it leads to extinction and no longer being taught to children and also no longer being used in everyday life. Every time a language dies, it is an enormous loss, says Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins. “Languages hold a world of knowledge”, she notes. “We lose knowledge and history and lose connection to a land (when a language is lost)”. Although it is indeed true that in past decades so many languages have died, societies are attempting to revitalize those on the brink. This essay will discuss how sociopolitical factors drive disappearing languages and what measures should be taken to preserve this phenomenon.

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The Factors of Language Disappearance 

The disappearance of languages is not occurring abruptly. Languages are constantly being switched by communities, where are more powerful both economically and politically. Taking into consideration of a recent survey, in the past there were hundreds of language spoken in North America but only 194 of them still exist which 33 are spoken by both adults and children; “another 34 are spoken by adults, but by few children; 73 are spoken almost entirely by adults over 50; 49 are spoken only by a few people, mostly over 70; and 5 may have already become extinct” (Ostler, 2000, p.2). Many speak a different language in this scenario — English, Mandarin, Swahili — so speaking that English is essential to accessing occupation, instruction, and possibilities. Parents sometimes decide not to educate children their heritage language, particularly in the immigrant groups, identifying it as a potential halt to their achievement in life (Go, 2015, p.7). But globalization, suggests Czaykowska-Higgins, has also played a part. She argues that there would be no alternative for some organization to surrender their languages (as cited in Aulakh, 2013, Line, 16). For instance, in the 1950s and 1960s, many societies in Soviet Russia were compelled to drive their children to schools where only Russian was used to teach or last August, a Chinese linguist was detained for attempting to open schools where his mother tongue, Uighur, was taught (Nuwer, 2014, p.7). Keren Rice states that languages are gone forever unless documentation exists such as sound recording. “Language is an oral medium […] it is gone if direct speakers are dead and nothing has been done to document it”, she explains.

Disappearing Languages: Solutions

Speaking of the first argued solution, all over the world, by using new techniques they have managed to prevent languages from vanishing. There is a wide range of choices for a society, which wishes to maintain or relive its language. unquestionably, one of the most serious narratives is that of Modern Hebrew, which after decades of learning and studying only in the old-style written form was resurrected as a native language. As the national language of Ireland, the Irish have had significant official and governmental assistance (Woodbury, n.d., p.2). In New Zealand, Maori society created elderly-staffed nursery schools, where they were run completely in Maori, known as “kohanga reo”, “language nests”. By expanding Language nests in elementary and some secondary schools in New Zealand, Alaska, Hawaii, and elsewhere, where have been attempting to recover Languages at risk. And also in California, younger adults in societies where only a few elderly spokespersons still live have changed into language pupils for them. (Woodbury, n.d., p.2). An increasing amount of meetings, workshops, and journals are nowadays offering assistance to people, schools, and society seeking language preservation.

Moving to the next solution, linguists are analyzing the vocabulary and rules of the language and writing dictionaries and grammars. Because so many languages are in danger of vanishing, learning as much about imperiled languages as possible by linguists can be a procedure, which will allow them to continue its existence, even though the language may disappear. In order to instruct, preserve, and revive a language, Linguists co-operate with societies around the world who want to maintain their languages due to offer practical and technical support (Woodbury, n.d., p.1). Part of the aid is based on the dictionaries and grammar they are writing. But in other respects, linguists can assist, too, taking advantage of their learning experience and teaching a broad range of languages. Using their teachings in other languages at risk is also able to assist to preserve the language in their own societies, although taking advantage of the latest technology for recording and studying languages is a new way to maintain them. Researchers produce, together with translations, videotapes, audiotapes and written records of the language used in both official and unofficial settings.


As been discussed, the socialized and globalized world it has become today has been changing so quickly, dying many languages is inevitable. It is illustrated in this essay that research has been done on how different sociopolitical factors contribute to disappearing languages and some preventive measures, which have been taken in some countries. Unfortunately, nowadays, non-English speakers, in particular, Spanish ones, are still exposed to violence by many English-speaking Americans and severe persecution continues to occur (Nuwer, 2014). It is important that effective and preventive actions be taken to save every part of a dying tongue, whether it is in writing from an audiotape or even a piece, of art. This process takes time, but it is worth it since a language is a wholly unique way of looking at the world. 


  1. Ostler, N. (2000). 'Endangered Languages.' Berg Publishers.

  2. Go, L. L. (2015). 'The Role of Language in Education: Implications for Language Preservation and Revitalization.' Language Documentation & Conservation, 9, 6-26.

  3. Aulakh, R. (2013). 'Language Crisis: Indigenous tongues fade as globalization and technology advance.' The Windsor Star. Retrieved from

  4. Nuwer, R. (2014). 'The Fight to Save the World's Endangered Languages.' BBC Future. Retrieved from

  5. Woodbury, A. C. (n.d.). 'Language Loss: What It Is and How It Happens.' Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. Retrieved from

  6. Czaykowska-Higgins, E. (n.d.). Personal Communication. Quoted in Aulakh, R. (2013).

  7. Grenoble, L. A., & Whaley, L. J. (2006). 'Saving Languages: An Introduction to Language Revitalization.' Cambridge University Press.

  8. Fishman, J. A. (1991). 'Reversing Language Shift: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages.' Multilingual Matters.

  9. Mufwene, S. S. (2001). 'The Ecology of Language Evolution.' Cambridge University Press.

  10. May, S. (2014). 'Language and Minority Rights: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Politics of Language.' Routledge.

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Disappearing Languages: Overview of the Factors and Solutions. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from
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