You might not know it, but there are actually over 6,500 languages that exist in the world today. Not surprisingly, the most popular language is Mandarin, spoken by over 1.2 billion people on the planet.
However, more than half of them are spoken by fewer than 1,000 people, which makes many of these unique languages close to extinction. Many linguists estimate that by the year 2050 at least half of these languages will completely disappear; and like the animal species we have lost along the way we will lose something special to our own species. History, morals and stories are passed on through language, so who knows what we could be missing if they disappear. This is not an inevitable process, it is something that can be preserved and passed on to younger generations. Just by being aware of the languages of our ancestors, we might find a connection that will bring us to learn more about a history, a culture or society.
Ireland – Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge)
One of the most loved societies, the Irish, have their own Gaelic language that has evolved since the beginning of the 4th century. There is a strong influence of Latin within the language, for example Domhnach (Sunday Dominica).
It is estimated that around 80,000 Irish still maintain their language, and there are numerous communities in Ireland that have Gaelic as their primary form of communication.By the early of the 18th century, the decline of spoken Gaelic had already began, mainly due to the British rule which discouraged its use within the education system and any legal administrations.
Some of the Irish, being a proud and strong willed population, refused to let the language be pushed out by the British and continued to use it for official purposes.
There have been several attempts at reviving the language, mainly focusing on folk traditions and the passing of their cultural knowledge with Gaelic.