Linguistic and cultural diversity are at risk. It is estimated that nearly half of the world’s approximately 6,000 languages could die out by the end of the century, with 96 percent of these languages spoken by a mere four percent of the world’s population.
A vernacular language is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, region or country that is more the language of ordinary speech than formal writing. Every day, a dozen of these vernacular languages disappear. This is alarming, because language plays a vital role in development, in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, and is also critical in strengthening cooperation, building inclusive knowledge societies, preserving cultural heritage and providing quality education for all.
Unfortunately, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), especially Internet, have so far contributed to the trend towards reduced linguistic diversity, although international organizations such as UNESCO and the Broadband Commission for Digital Development regularly advocate the need for a greater presence of content in local languages.
The online dominance of certain languages is undeniable: at least 80 percent of all content on the Internet is in one of 10 languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Arabic, French, Russian, and Korean. African languages are represented on the Internet, but not as a widespread communication medium and often with minimum content in the languages themselves. More.