The oft-cited statistic that an endangered language dies every two weeks is based on information drawn from a 1992 article by University of Alaska-Fairbanks professor Michael Krauss in which he estimated the total number of languages in the world at 6,000 and asserted that at least half of those would become extinct before the end of the 21st century. In his book Language Death, English linguist David Crystal did the math: 100 years is 1,200 months; in order for 3,000 languages to "die" in 1,200 months, at least one must go about every two weeks. At the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation in early 2013, Lyle Campbell of the University of Hawaii at Manoa presented new data drawn from the Endangered Languages Catalogue (ELCat), a joint project of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Eastern Michigan University with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The new data brought to light from the ELCat indicate that some 3,176 languages or 46% of the worldwide total can be considered endangered. A more accurate estimate for the current rate of language extinction would appear to be one language about every three months. That would mean that about 1.5 languages become extinct over the course of a typical college semester. From this realization comes this video, comparing the world language endangerment crisis to a college foreign language department.

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