Lifestyle & Belief

Mexico: 64 indigenous dialects at 'high risk' of disappearing


Raramuris indigenous people gather to receive humanitarian aid delivered by the Mexican Red Cross in Pitoreal town, Chihuahua state, Mexico on January 21, 2012.



GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Scores of indigenous dialects in Mexico are at “high risk” of disappearing, the head of the country's National Institute of Indigenous Languages has warned.

Of the 364 dialects – versions of the country’s 68 indigenous languages – 64 could die out, with less than 100 speakers of each remaining, Javier Lopez Sanchez was quoted by Mexican newspaper Informador saying.

"There are entire communities where the children don't speak their indigenous language," Lopez Sanchez said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Among the Yoremes in the northwestern state of Sonora, for example, the surviving speakers are over 40 years old.

Informador said many of the languages at risk were in Baja California. Some were in the country's south.

According to Agence France-Presse, Google is working with Mexican government agencies to promote indigenous languages through its Endangered Languages Project launched last month, which aims to keep alive more than 3,000 endangered languages around the world.

More from GlobalPost: Google-sponsored project aims to document dying languages

The online platform enables indigenous communities to upload materials in their languages, which can be accessed by interested people.

“It is an open, on-line platform where anybody can get on and start sharing materials in those languages which are in danger of being lost,” Miguel Alba, Google's Mexico marketing chief, said Tuesday.