Google recently announced the launch of a new website, www.endangeredlanguages.com, aimed at preserving ancient tongues spoken by only a few thousand people. This got us thinking at Comtec about just how many languages are in use around the world. There are, in fact, around 7,000 and it seems over 3,000 of these are on the verge of extinction. Just recently we received an enquiry at Comtec about Circassian translation services. You may be interested to hear that there remain only about two million speakers of Circassian, mostly living in the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, Adygea, and Karachay–Cherkessia, as well as a number in the Russian Federation outside these republics.
However, because Circassion is not formerly taught in schools, and most native speakers are people born and raised in villages, urbanisation is affecting the language’s survival. In fact the Nappit Foundation, established in 2010 to protect and promote the Circassion language, history and culture, estimates that the total number of fluent Circassion speakers will fall to half by 2050.
Yet compared with some languages on the www.endangeredlanguages.com website, Circassion is not all that unpopular. Koro, a language documented in the mountains of northeast India, is spoken by no more than 4,000 people. While Potowatomi, a North American Indian language, is categorised as severely endangered, with fewer than 50 speakers remaining.
However, perhaps one of the least spoken languages has to be Ayapanec Zoque, which, according to the website has only two speakers remaining who don’t communicate as they don’t like each other!
Google’s Endangered Languages Project has highlighted a very important issue which we should all be concerned about. Language is intrinsically connected with culture. Globalisation is already affecting the individuality of different cultures. We must preserve the languages we have in order to retain important historical, scientific and cultural information from around the world.
Comtec provides language translation services to businesses for a wide range of languages. As well as the more common languages such as Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish and Italian we also offer translation services into lesser-known languages such as Faroese, Farsi, Neo-Melanesian, Malay, Riksmal, Xhosa and Zulu. We are also very happy to support clients with languages not listed on our website as, with a global network of linguists, we are certain to be able to accommodate all of your business language translation service requirements.