Minority languages

Lesson plan overview

This intermediate ESL lesson is dedicated to minority languages and endangered languages. Students will learn useful expressions and discuss the importance of preserving minority languages, cultural heritage and the relationship between language and identity. It can be combined with other lessons about learning languages, such as “How to set effective language learning goals”, “English as a lingua franca”, and “Idioms: learning and education”.
Speaking: The lesson starts with a discussion about minority languages and student’s experience with minority languages.
Vocabulary: Students complete 12 expressions related to minority languages (language preservation, language revitalization, cultural heritage, endangered languages, language extinction, cultural assimilation). To practise, students choose the correct option to complete 7 sentences.
Speaking: First, students brainstorm possible situations in which people might decide to switch from their minority language to a more dominant language. Then they look at 4 situations and discuss them.
Listening: Students watch a video called “Why do languages die?” and answer 6 questions.
Speaking: Students are asked to design a revitalization campaign for a minority language of their choice. After that they discuss 8 questions given. Finally, students are given an essay task, which could be set as homework.
You can use the conversation cards to revise the target vocabulary and to further discuss the topic.

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.


Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

Of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken and signed on Earth, about 500 of them are currently at risk of disappearing as the number of native speakers dwindles.
What I do is make sure that all of that content gets tracked and archived so it doesn’t get lost and so it can be used for posterity and in the long term.
When the last native speaker died, there were materials for the cultural descendants to bring them back.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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