UNESCO has estimated that among 7000 languages that is currently present, half of them would be extinct by 2100. Today, with the rising globalization, the regional dialects are slowly vanishing. Languages are dying quicker than ever before. As per the recent statistics by the Living Institute of Endangered Languages, every 14 days a language is vanishing from the face of the earth, with the death of the last living speaker. A lot is lost when a language gets extinct. While the written and the spoken words get lost forever, a culture is also lost. Hundreds of documented scripts will go undeciphered. One such example is Boa Sr., the last Bo language speaker passed away in 2010, taking a millennia of human heritage with him. In this article, we will talk about 10 languages which are heading towards extinction.
Kayardild is one of the aboriginal languages which were spoken centuries ago in Northern Australia. The Kayardild speaker mainly resided on the South Wellesley Islands, to the north-west of Queensland, Australia. Today, there are only 10 people who can speak Kayardild. Kayardild belongs to the family of aboriginal languages, and has a unique property of case stacking of four levels. As per Australia statistics, in the last 1700’s, there was 250 indigenous aboriginal languages spoken in Australia. Today, more than half has vanished, and the remaining half is fighting for existence. Though, some efforts have been made by the Endangered Language Archive, to make a record of the language.
As the people from Spain and Portugal started making the South American countries their colonies, the indigenous people has no other method to communicate to them, other than speaking Spanish or Portuguese. The advent of Spanish and Portuguese in the South American countries made some of the indigenous languages completely vanish. The kallawaya lives in the Andes Mountain of Bolivia, and they hold a secret language that is said to have information of over hundred medicinal plants. The kallawaya tribe is known to be healers from the reign of the Inca. Though, the language has been passed between generations, less than 100 kallawaya speaking people are alive today.
Ayapaneco is a language which was spoken in one Mexican village. As of now, there are only two people who can speak Ayapaneco fluently. The future of the language became cloudy, when the speakers stopped communicating with each other. Thanks to the efforts made by the famous anthropologist James Fox and Vodafone, the two old men started talking to each other. Also, these two old men are teaching the language to a new generation so that the Ayapaneco language may be preserved. A new school has been made in the village, where Ayapaneco is taught, and also a new dictionary written by these two men is on the way.
Oji Cree is a language which is still used in two small regions of Canada. UNESCO has tagged the Oji Cree as vulnerable, which means it still has the chance of surviving. The Oji Cree language has been borrowed from the indigenous languages around the area, and has been blended with a number of local languages. The Oji Cree is the common dialect of the Ojibwe tribe of Canada. It is very difficult to say, how many fluent speakers are remaining, because Oji Cree language sometimes uses localized language. But, as per statistics, 6000 fluent speakers of the Oji Cree language are alive.
The Mednyj Aleut is a language originated at Eastern Siberia. Eastern Siberia alone is home to about 11 language families. Due to the large diversity of languages in this region, it is very hard to keep track of the vulnerable languages. Due to globalization, people speaking in the national dialect has caused many languages to be extinct. Mednyj Aleut is one such language. It has originated from two language family. A Russian parent and another Aleut parent comprised of the Mednyj Aleut in earlier stage. Today, in the modern form of the language, the Mednyj Aleut is primarily Aleut, with a little tinge of Russian. Only five speakers remain.
Tehuelche was originally the dialect of the nomadic hunters of Chile. The Tehuelche language diminished so substantially, that by 2011, only some of the villagers of Argentina actually spoke the language fluently. The advent of Spanish and Portuguese in Southern America, made Tehuelche close to extermination. Today, the young generation knows only bits and shreds of the language. Linguists from all over the world, has tried to record the language for introducing it to future generations.
Oklahoma, in U.S, is a hub of languages. Oklahoma is the home to the largest number of indigenous settlements in U.S, and therefore the area creates a vast array of different languages. The Yuchi is an American Indian language which was spoken extensively by the tribes. But, in the 20th century, due to globalization, the Indian students was punished for speaking anything other than English in the United states, and therefore the Yuchi language slowly got exterminated. Today only 5 elders of a certain tribe speak Yuchi.
Gaelic or Irish is a language for the people if Ireland. But, since, Ireland’s national language is English, the usage of Gaelic or Irish slowly diminished and it became a vulnerable language. When the Irish economy skyrocketed in the late 20th century, the Irish as a matter of pride and patriotism towards their nation, started speaking in Gaelic in some part of the country. In some Irish schools, learning Gaelic is compulsory but since, a very few families actually speak or practice Gaelic, it is considered endangered.
Meithei, like a lot of other Indian languages, is listed as vulnerable or endangered. India is a growing country, and like other growing country, a lot of people are becoming online. Meithei is an ancient language and there is very scarce information about Meithei in the Internet. There are no virtual keyboards which can help people type Meithei on the web. Meithei is the official language of the Government of Manipur and has over 1 million speakers.
The !kung language was originated in Namibia and Botswana where the !kung tribe lived. The !kung are a prehistorical tribe who were famous for their hunting and gathering skills. As the world became a much better place the! kung tribe changing their interests from hunting and gathering to herding cattle and farming. While they became dependent to other people for selling their productions, they had to leave their ancient tongue of !kung, and started speaking in a more common dialect. Their daily spoken language evolved to a more modern one, leaving the usage of the !kung language diminished. Since the tribe had no writing system, therefore there was no way to document their writings and language, which made it more difficult to preserve the language.