Irish joins Google endangered languages list

Nach bhfuil aon focail eile againn?



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21 June 2012 | 0

"Some adults in the community are speakers, but the language is not spoken by children." Harsh words, maybe, but this is the official impression of Irish as given by Google’s latest endeavour, the Endangered Languages Project. Working off the premise that over 50% of today’s languages will be extinct by 2100, the prject sets out to provide a comprehensive record of languages considered to be at risk of dying out.

Unfortunately the news for Irish is grim, with only 20,000 native speakers worldwide, a small figure when compared to Navajo (12,000 speakers) but still better than Andorra’s Aragonese (less than 10,00 speakers) and the more obscure Austronesian Koro (160 speakers). Another Celtic languages on life support is Cornish (about 600 speakers), but Scots Gaelic appears to be holding its own with up to 30,000 native speakers.

The website is an application that will enable users to find the most comprehensive and up to date information about 3,050 endangered languages of the world (out of a total of about 7,000). Users will have access to language data, audio, text and video samples as well as bibliographic resources (provided by partners at launch).

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