It has been estimated that one half of the 6000 languages spoken in the
world are under threat of extinction from globalisation, greater
movement of people and mass communication in the dominant language of
countries which are linguistically diverse.
One way in which one could
try to preserve this diversity is to encourage, or better fund radio and
television in the minority language. We see this in Britain in the BBC’s
Scots Gaelic and Welsh programmes. Guatemala is a country with very
great linguisitic diversity, where many of its languages are under
threat of extinction.You can see a table of approximate numbers of speakers and howtihs has changed in recent years here.
We were recently contact by an intern at the US
organisation Cultural Survival which is funding a five year programme of
local radio stations which broadcast in indigenous languages, including
training their staff and also trying to legalise them, as getting a
licence is a non-trivial operation which can take years as we reported some while ago. We are pleased
to flag up this good work here.