The World’s Rarest Languages

January 6, 2016

 

Language is a vital part of our human #existence, and, while we may take it for granted, without it there would our ability to communicate or connect with the people around us would be lost.

 

Despite the pivotal role that #languages play, the United Nations has stated that a language disappears, on average, every two weeks. There are an estimated 7000 languages spoken in the world today and, of these a quarter are spoken by fewer than 1000 people and at risk of #extinction if they are not passed down to the next generation.

 

Taushiro, also known as Pinche or Pinchi, is perhaps the world’s most endangered language. A ‘language isolate’ (one unrelated to any other) of the Peruvian #Amazon close to #Ecuador, there is just a single recorded native speaker in an ethnic population of 20. Similarly, Kaixana, spoken on the banks of the Japura River in Brazil, has just one speaker and is also doomed to become extinct.

 

The Lemerig language of Vanuatu does not fare much better, with a 2008 study revealing that there were only two fluent speakers remaining. Meanwhile, the #USA, home to some of the world’s most widely spoken tongues, such as #English and #Spanish, is simultaneously home to Chemehuevi, the world’s 4th most endangered language with a total of three fluent speakers.

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