25 Most Endangered Languages In The World

Posted by , Updated on June 9, 2014

Countries around the world may boast of languages inherent to them alone, but the fact remains that if they do not do something about their own endangered languages, they may quietly go into extinction. There are many reasons why a certain language became endangered. It may be because the population who speaks the language is in physical danger due to natural disasters, war, and genocide but it can also be because the speakers are prevented from speaking the language due to political repression or cultural hegemony. Whatever the reason these are the 25 most endangered languages in the world.

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15

Njerep

Njerep

A Bantoid language spoken in Nigeria, this is also once spoken in the Cameroon though it is commonly spoken near the Mambila. However, this was replaced by different Mambila dialects such as the Ba and Myop. In 2007, there are only 4 speakers left and none of them younger than 60 making it critically endangered.

14

Ongota

Ongota

Ongota is an extinct Afro-Asiatic language spoken on the west bank of the Weito River in a tiny village in southwest Ethiopia with only 6 elderly speakers. The rest of the villagers had already adopted the Tsamai language. However, unlike other extinct languages, there is a professor named Aklilu Yilma of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia who studied the language. His studies showed that Ongota follows a structure of subject, object, and verb. Ongota has features of both Afroasiatic and Nilo-Saharan as traces of these languages remained in the dialect.

13

Patwin

Patwin

This is a Native American language that is spoken in the western United States. Descendants of the Patwin tribe still live in Cortina and Colusa outside of San Francisco where there is only one documented fluent speaker as of 1997. However, Patwin language classes have been brought back in 2010 at the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation tribal school. There is also an extensive California Indian Library Collection of the Patwin language and history research section at the Tewe Kewe Cultural Center of the Yocha Dewe Wintun Nation as of 2012.

12

Pazeh

Pazeh

This is the language of a Taiwanese aboriginal people, which originated from the Austronesian language. While there is only one remaining native speaker of the language, 96-year-old Pan Jin-yu, she was able to teach 200 regular students in Puli and a few students in Miaoli and Taichung before her death.

11

Puelche

Puelche

This is a nearly moribund language of the Puelche people in the Pampas region of Argentina. Long considered as a language isolate, there is very limited evidence that it may have been related to the Querandt of the Het people, or the Chon languages. According to Ethologue, it may still have five or six speakers, if it is not extinct yet.


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