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In such a case, the ratio between both populations depends on the ethnic group.
Thus, the Cofán ethnic population is rather close to the population of speakers of A’ingae, the Cofán ethnic language, even if the rate of bilingualism among them is high; on the contrary, speakers of Kayapɔ, the Zapara ethnic language, count only 5 elders, representing scarcely 4% of the ethnic population (115), all of which speaks Amazonian Kichwa (Andrade 2001: 7).
The widespread use of Spanish in urban and rural areas, the labour migration of indigenous people to the cities and the partial success of bilingual education programmes have been determining factors in the decreasing vitality of indigenous languages.
According to the UNESCO classification of endangerment (Moseley 2010), all of Ecuador’s indigenous languages are in one way or another endangered and two have become extinct since the mid-seventies, Andoa and Tetete.3 The classification of indigenous languages should be taken with caution because it is based mostly on estimates from census data.
This is explained firstly by the small number of indigenous speakers who can read and write in their native languages, and secondly by the type of language used in writing, full of coined expressions and neologisms that obscure the message.
In turn, the Council of Development of the Nationalities and Peoples of Ecuador (CONDENPE), the governmental agency of Indian affairs, maintains that Ecuador’s indigenous people represent only 11 percent (1,103,957) of the national population (López & García 2009: 590).Only recently sociolinguistic surveys are being conducted among speakers of indigenous languages in order to determine their population with accuracy. In both cases the data show tendencies different from those presented above (Gómez Rendón 2010a and 2011).Thus, Tsa’fiki should be considered a severely endangered language instead of a definitely endangered one, while Awapit is best classified as a critically endangered language rather than a severely endangered one in UNESCO’s terms.Today, an indigenous population of 2,000,000 is a reasonable estimate.Still, caution is needed because ethnic population—i.e.