I'm linking today to a few articles I've spotted on the varying fortunes of a number of world languages.
A piece on Al Jazeera America reports how independence and increasing economic confidence can revitalise an endangered or vulnerable language. It cites the Basque language as an example, saying it is thriving as a result of the Basque region's economic strength. Other examples of languages that have experienced a resurgence as a result of their region achieving a reasonable level of autonomy and prosperity include Catalan, Welsh, Hawaiian and Maori. Similarly, the position of the Kurdish language is becoming more secure, according to the article, as Erbil's region becomes more prosperous and gains more autonomy. Daniel Kaufman of the Endangered Language Alliance has said that the situation concerning linguistic diversity these days is being shaped by policy and economic realities (see this BBC article as well as the aforementioned one). The Al Jazeera America piece reports on indigenous languages on the territory of the USA that are growing in size and influence; this year Alaska became the second state (the first was Hawaii) to officially recognise its indigenous languages.
Another BBC piece looks at Sanskrit, currently spoken by barely 1% of Indians. There has been much argument and debate recently in response to a government order to increase the teaching of Sanskrit in schools. The BBC piece focuses on a village in Bangalore's region, where shopkeepers, labourers and other ordinary people communicate quite happily and productively in Sanskrit. This is significant because Sanskrit has in the past been criticised for being an upper-caste language.
At the other end of the spectrum, The Guardian has a piece on a critically endangered Sami language, Ume Sami, now spoken by fewer than 50 people in Lapland, north Sweden. The Ume Sami language is not related to Swedish, an Indo-European language; it belongs to the Uralic group (as do Finnish and Estonian). Many of its words relate specifically to the surrounding environment and the people's economic livelihood. For instance, one word that is impossible to translate into Swedish or English refers to intricate markings made on a reindeer's ear to distinguish ownership. The decline in the language is mirrored in the second-class treatment of the Sami minority and prejudice meted out in the past, when it was forbidden and/or considered shameful to speak a Sami language. Many things have changed now, including government policy, but even so, it is not easy to revive a language with so few speakers. There is an increasing pride in Sami identity and a push to revitalise the language - there is even an app for this.