On the initiative of Professor Stephen Wurm
I was asked to compile the European section of the Unesco Red Book Report
on Endangered Languages with a couple of weeks' notice in December, 1993.
The full version of that preliminary report
is now available. It is, however, easier to study it with the help of the indexes.
Demographic data for Finno-Ugrian languages appear as
a separate table.
Languages were originally divided into five categories;
a sixth, potentially endangered languages, was added later:
The report includes 94 entries which cover
(a) 77 autochtonous European languages, including
(b) eight other languages confined to Europe, i.e.
(c) nine diaspora dialects
in this order of appearance. Languages belonging to the groups (a) and (b)
are listed indifferently in the indexes,
while (c) diaspora dialects appear unnumbered and unmarked,
except in the index by country if they constitute the sole representative
of the language in the country.
Following changes were made to the original report:
Consequently, before two removals and five additions there were 91 entries in the original report. Southern Mansi, an extinct language formerly spoken also partly in Europe, continues to be listed in the Northeast Asian section.
- Tundra Nenets, spoken mainly in Siberia, and Forest Nenets,
spoken entirely in Siberia, were included in the original report
for practical reasons, but were later removed and added to the
Northeast Asian section,
- Western Mari and Eastern Mari were given separate entries,
- Trukhmen, a diaspora dialect of Turkmen, was added,
- Provençal and Walloon were added to the group of endangered languages, and
- one of the potentially endangered languages, viz Francoprovençal, was included.
Entries for other potentially endangered languages are
- Leonese, initially listed as endangered, is now regarded as seriously endangered.
- The latest updates bring Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, and Emilian into the group of potentially endangered languages and it may prove necessary to move at least some of them to the group of endangered languages.
Needless to say, all helpful comments are extremely welcome
and will be acknowledged in updated versions.
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Please keep in mind that for languages other than Finno-Ugrian
I have had to rely on second-hand sources, and in a number of cases
even they were difficult to obtain.