Sunday, September 4, 2016

Endangered Languages From Around The World

There are nearly seven thousand languages spoken throughout the world today. The majority of these are predicted to be extinct by the end of this century. Half the world's population speaks the top twenty world languages. Mandarin, Spanish and English, in that order, are the top three. Most linguists point to globalization as the main cause for the rapid decline in many languages.

Unfortunately, when a language dies so does much of the knowledge and traditions that were passed on by the people speaking that language. This list was composed of data from the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity.

Irish Gaelic: Despite the fact that the government requires Irish students to learn this language and it currently has an estimated forty thousand native speakers, it is still classified as vulnerable.

Rapa Nui: The mother tongue of Chile's famous Easter Island has less than four thousand native speakers, and is quickly being taken over by Spanish.

Seneca: There approximately only one hundred people in three reservation communities in the United States who speak this language, with the youngest being in his 50s.

Yaw: Most young people living in the Gangaw District of Burma understand but do not speak this critically endangered language that has less than ten thousand native speakers.

Kariyarra: Although there are many people who have a passive understanding of this aboriginal language, there are only two fluent Kariyarra speakers left in Western Australia.

Franco Provençal: There are only about one hundred thirty thousand native speakers of this language, mostly in secluded towns in east-central France, western Switzerland and the Italian Acosta Valley.

Yahgan: This indigenous language of Chile purportedly has only one remaining native speaker. Others are familiar with the language, but it will most likely disappear soon.

Patuá: Derived from Malay, Sinhalese, Cantonese and Portuguese, less than fifty people in Macau, China, speak this language. It is now the object of folkloric interest among those who still speak it.


Ashantay said...

This post left me feeling a bit sad. We've lost so much beauty in the name of progress. Sometimes I wish we could communicate telepathically!

Vonnie said...

Samantha, you write really interesting posts.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi Samantha! Excellent topic.

I read recently that linguists have started to do research on rare languages by visiting New York City. Apparently there are many languages flirtying with extinction that are spoken there.

Samantha Gentry said...

Ashantay: "They" say we only use a small part of our total brain power, so I'm sure that communicating telepathically is in our future.

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha Gentry said...

Vonnie: Glad you enjoy them.

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha Gentry said...

Lisabet: I think I read somewhere that you can find people living in the U.S. who speak every known language. We're definitely a multi-lingual society.

Thanks for your comment.