d The most important reason why languages are dying .
e Languages and natural disasters .
f What happens when languages die .
1 Maluerindi (a name which means 'Running Water') is lonely because he has nobody to talk to, but his loneliness won't change - he is the last person in the world who can speak his Aboriginal language. 'It's sad,' he says, 'but there's nothing we can do about it now.'
2 Experts who study languages say that there are 51 other languages with just one speaker left - 28 of them in Australia. These languages are so close to dying that nobody can save them. The experts tell us that out of the world's 6,000 languages, 3,000 will disappear in the next 100 years.
3 There are many reasons why languages die. Sometimes natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes suddenly destroy small groups of people who live in far away places. Sometimes the weather changes and there isn't enough food, and sometimes strangers bring new diseases.
4 But disasters like these are not the biggest danger, and do not tell us why languages are disappearing faster than ever before. The real problem comes from the big world languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. Today, mainly because of America, English is the first world language, and it is very hard for smaller languages to survive.
5 There are things that small communities can do to save a language, but they need time and money. First, people need to record the language and write it down. Then they need to train teachers, and write grammar books, dictionaries and books for schools.
6 We should care about languages that are in danger just as we should care about rare plants and animals. When a language dies it is not like when a civilization such as the ancient Greeks or Egyptians die. They leave behind buildings like the pyramids in Egypt and Parthenon in Greece - there is always something to show that they were there. But a spoken language leaves nothing behind - when it dies, there is only silence.