Languages and Endangered Languages along the Silk Roads


Throughout history, thousands of languages have been spoken along the lengths of the Silk Roads, both land and maritime. These languages have been one of the major means of transmission of knowledge, beliefs, traditions and customs between peoples alongside the historic Silk Roads and into societies and communities far beyond. However, despite their historic vibrancy, not all of these languages have survived until today: some continue to be spoken whilst others are endangered or have become extinct. Those that are endangered or extinct have been recorded on the UNESCO list of World Languages in Danger.

Learn more about the languages in the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.

The Silk Roads Online Platform provides information about the languages of the historic Silk Roads.

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Languages and Endangered Languages along the Silk Roads

Title Sort descending Country Route
Arabic Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Yemen Land, Maritime
Azerbaijani (Azeri) Azerbaijan, Iran (Islamic Republic of) Land
Chinese China Land, Maritime
Dungan Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Land
Garhwali India Land
Kati Afghanistan, Pakistan Land
Mongolian, Halh Mongolia, Russian Federation Land
Pashto Afghanistan, Pakistan Land
Persian Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Tajikistan Land
Swahili Kenya, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania Maritime
Urdo India, Pakistan Land, Maritime

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Silk Roads Programme

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