Language Use

Languages can be classified by the usage; either they are vital, endangered, or extinct.

UNESCO distinguishes the following levels of endangerment in languages, based on intergenerational transfer:

  • Vulnerable: Most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g., home).
  • Definitely endangered: Children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home.
  • Severely endangered: Language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves.
  • Critically endangered: The youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently.
  • Extinct: The language is no more spoken.

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