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Vanishing Languages

One language dies every 14 days. By the next century, nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will likely disappear as communities abandon native tongues in favour of English, Mandarin, or Spanish. What is lost when a language goes silent?

Lynn Johnson

There are almost 7000 languages in the world, but every two weeks one goes silent.

People who speak the world’s dominant languages—English, Spanish, Chinese—believe that a common language binds us and makes us one unified people. But such unification is also a loss of culture.

A language that is embedded into song, behavior and belief keeps a community intact. Language is an intimate moral compass, a belonging.

These photographs show Tuvans from the central Russian steppes, the Seri people who live on the shore of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and the Aka people who live in remote northeast India.

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