Endangerment

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What is EGIDS? How is it used?

EGIDS stands for the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale.  This is a tool that is used to measure the status of a language in terms of endangerment or development.  See Language Status for more information; see Endangerment for information on how this scale relates to endangered languages.

What is the difference between a dormant language and an extinct language?

Both extinct languages and dormant languages no longer have any fully-proficient L1 users.  The Ethnologue makes a distinction between the two, however, to reflect the differences that exist in the sociolinguistic status of these languages without users. Although a dormant language is not used for daily life, there is an ethnic community that associates itself with a dormant language and view the language as a symbol of that community's identity.  Though a dormant language has no proficient users, it retains some social uses.

What is an endangered language?

An endangered language is one in which the child-bearing generation is no longer transmitting it to their children.  On the EGIDS scale, an endangered language would have a value of 7, 8a, or 8b.

How many languages of the world have less than 1,000 speakers? Less than 100 speakers? Less than 10 speakers?

There are 1,535 living languages with less than 1,000 first-language speakers.  There are 478 with less than 100 speakers, and 135 with less than 10 speakers.

How many extinct languages are there in the world?

There are 381 extinct languages listed in this edition of the Ethnologue.  This number does not include long-extinct or dead languages and, more specifically, does not include languages that became extinct before 1950.  This number also does not include languages labeled as dormant which, although having no remaining speakers, are considered to have some life.