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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10

Qawasqar

Qawasqar

This is an Alcalutan language that was spoken in southern Chile by the Kawesqar people. There were originally several distinct dialects and Kakauhua is sometimes listed as one. However, the language family containing these two languages: Qawasqar and Kakauhua, is known as Alcalufan. Nowadays, only 20 speakers remain and half of them belong to the Wellington Island, off the southern coast of Chile.

9

Tanema

Tanema

This is a critically endangered language of the island of Vanikoro, an easternmost province off of the Solomon Islands, Temotu Province, and in an Emua village. As of 2012, there is only one known speaker, Lainol Nalo, as many of those who once spoke Tanema have adapted and have started to speak Pijin or Teanu, which are popular languages of the region. Tanema is of Austronesian as well as Malayo-Polynesian, Central Eastern, and Oceanic origin.

8

Taushiro

Taushiro

An isolated language of native Peru, this is also known as Tausiro in Spanish. This is the language spoken in the region of the Tigre River and Aucayu River, a tributary of the Ahuaruna River. As of 2008, a study conducted that there is only one person who can speak the language fluently making it nearly extinct. Other native speakers, mainly from the Loreto Province and Tigre River basin, had married non-Taushiro speakers and adopted other Spanish languages.

7

Tinigua

Tinigua

This is a nearly extinct language isolate spoken in Colombia with only one remaining speaker as of 2008, living near the Guayabero River. This language originated from the Pamiqua language, which is already extinct. While originally from the Yari River, descendants of the Tinigua tribe are now living in the Meta Department between the Upper Guayabero and Yari rivers but they are no longer speaking the dialect.

6

Tolowa

Tolowa

This language is spoken by the Tolowa Native American tribe with only a few members located in the Smith River Rancheria, which is a sovereign nation near Crescent City, California. This is a part of the Pacific Coast subgroup of the Athabaskan language family with other closely-related languages such as the Roque River Athabaskan and Upper Umpqua, which forms the distinctive Oregon Athabaskan cluster within the subgroup. This is critically endangered having only one speaker left as of 2008.

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