Writing by Alison Jones; Art by Jonathan Lee

Over the millennia, some 7,000 human languages evolved around the world. Now that number is shrinking. with another language going extinct about every two weeks. By century’s end, the number of human languages could be cut in half, says linguist Julie Tetel Andresen.

When a language dies, we lose practical information about flora and fauna – and  something more intangible, says Andresen, professor of English and chair of linguistics at Duke. She is donating profits from her forthcoming book to help preserve threatened languages around the globe.

Check out five hotspots where languages are disappearing at the fastest pace, and learn about revival efforts that could keep some languages alive:

Read the full story on Duke Today.