Around 640 languages are in danger of extinction in Europe because children no longer learn them as a mother tongue at home, said UNESCO in its latest report.
UNESCO defines mother tongue — or mother language — as a child’s first language, the language learned in the home from older family members.
Discover in the map of endangered languages for each European country.
Linguistic diversity in Russia and Italy under threat
Italy and Russia have the biggest linguistic diversity in all of Europe — and the most endangered languages, according to UNESCO, showing the linguistic richness of the two countries yet the progressive loss of the languages with each new generation.
In the southern Italian island of Sardinia there are four endangered languages (Gallurese, Sassarese, Algherese Catalan, Sardinian). A linguistic study by the Universita degli Studi di Cagliari, a university in Cagliari, Sardinia, examined how these Sardinian languages have lost importance with younger generations: nearly 70% of surveyed Sardinians only spoke them with their grandparents, while only 33% spoke the local languages with their children.
UNESCO’s world atlas also includes 228 languages that are no longer spoken since its previous edition.
These are the languages that died in Europe:
- Alderney French
Crimea (annexed by Russia)
- Akkala Saam
- Kamas Turk
- Old Sirenik
- Seward Peninsula Inupiaq (Big Diomede Island)
- Southern Khanty
- Southern Mansi
- Ubykh (Caucasus)
- Western Mansi