The Yakut language is one of the 136 languages of Russia that are in danger, 20 of them have already been declared dead. Such figures are given in the interactive Atlas of Endangered Languages of the world (https://ich.unesco.org/en/interactive-atlas-00206), published on the UNESCO website. The number of native speakers of the Yakut language, according to the 2010 census, totals 450,140 people living mainly on the territory of Yakutia.
UNESCO calculates the viability of languages according to 9 criteria, including the number of native speakers, the transmission of language from generation to generation, the availability of educational materials, the attitude to language within society. Further , all languages are classified into 6 categories: "it is safe", "the situation is alarming", "the language is in danger of extinction", "the language is in serious danger", "the language is in critical condition", "the language has disappeared".
If we consider the map of Russian languages, then in addition to 20 extinct languages (for example, Ainu, Yuga, Ubykh) in Russia, 22 more are considered to be in critical condition (Aleutian, Tersko-Sami, Itelmen), 29 are in serious danger (Nivkh, Chukchi, Karelian). 49 languages, including Kalmyk, Udmurt and Yiddish, have become endangered. The situation of 20 languages is of concern, including Belarusian, Chechen, Yakut and Tuvan. Note that if we sum up the number of languages in each of the five categories, we get not 136, but 140. It is also worth considering that Udmurt, Kalmyk, Yakut, Tuvan and Chechen are the official languages of the republics of the Russian Federation.
In total, the UNESCO atlas recognizes 2.5 thousand languages out of 6 thousand existing in the world as endangered. There are 199 languages spoken by no more than ten people. In the last few decades, 200 languages have completely disappeared, according to the Associated Press.
Researchers predict that by 2050 there will be a noticeable replacement of the Yakut language with Russian, and only a small proportion of children born in 20 years can communicate in Yakut. And for the next generation, the Sakha language will turn into a kind of museum culture, when it will be spoken about as the language of the ancestors.
According to the forecast, by 2050, the Yakut language may be replaced by Russian or languages of international communication. The experts drew up a graph and showed the dynamics of the language proficiency of representatives of the Sakha people, depending on the period of birth (from 1950 to 2030). Currently, there are already trends that can lead to the execution of this scenario. By the 30th year and beyond, the loss of language will become a noticeable phenomenon. The researchers explained this by the fact that it may be replaced by the Russian language.
"Perhaps the majority of the population will know the language at the everyday level, but only a few will use it as a living language – to communicate, to think. The question remains whether young people reconsider their positions when they get older. After all, a lot is changing," explains Alexandra Prokopyeva, senior lecturer at the History Department of the North-Eastern Federal University, Faculty of History. Based on forecasts, among those born in 2021-2030, only 60% will be fluent and speak their native language, only 40% will discuss household and personal affairs with their family, and only a quarter of them will think in their native language.
Dunya Zakharova is an artist (born in 1987 in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), lives and works in Moscow), whose main motive of creativity is giving emotional coloring to abstract forms. The emotions of interest to the artist are diverse. Those are loneliness and suffering caused by extreme weather conditions, and, at the same time, tenderness and love. All these states of the human soul are dissected with the precision of an entomologist and decomposed into components. All works are distinguished by the thoroughness of working with the material, the purpose of which is to maximize the expressiveness of the finished object. The images that eventually appear in the works seem to resemble fantastic creatures from fairy tales, dreams or our unconscious fears. There seems to be some hidden threat in them, but the very placement of these creatures in the exhibition space "disinfects" them and turns them into safe objects for viewing. Solo exhibitions: "Hysteria" - ART4 (2019), “-77.8°C" - Osnova Gallery, Moscow (2017), "Extinct species" - Osnova Gallery, Moscow, (2016).