Language helps us to share our ideas and feelings with others. When we think about language, some familiar names come to our mind like English, French, German, or maybe Arabic. It is an essential way of communication that is often taken for granted by today’s generation.
Can you imagine a life without a common language? It would be hard when people around you don’t understand your language. That’s when the word rare comes into the context when you study a foreign language.
Do these obscure languages still exist?
Yes, you would be surprised to know there are people worldwide that still speak some rare languages. So let’s dig in to find how rare it can be.
1. Taushiro (Pinche/ Pinchi)
The top on our list has to be Taushiro which is the language of the native people of Peru. This language is so rare that according to a study conducted in 2008, only one person can fluently speak it. The speakers, when talking, usually counted to 10, using their fingers.
Like in Taushiro, if you have to say “one,” you’d say (Washikanto). If you have to count on a number above 10, you would say (Ashintu) while pointing towards the toe.
Isn’t it interesting?
Chemehuevi is a Southern language mainly spoken in the midwest and western coasts of the states. You can probably hear people talking in Chemehuevi in places like Utah, Colorado, and some parts of Nevada and Arizona.
To our surprise, the Chemehuevi tribe still exists and is flourishing, but the fluent speakers of this language are not. According to a 2007 study, there are only three full-fledged fluent speakers of this language. Moreover, all of them are Adults.
Njerep is commonly spoken in Nigeria, near Mambila. This language today is now spoken in Mambila dialects, i.e., Mvop and Ba. A study conducted in 2007 states that only 4 speakers of this language are left.
4. Tanema (Tetawo, Tanima)
Tanema language was spoken in Solomon Island, in places like Temotu Province, Vanikolo Island, and Emua village. Unfortunately, today this language has lost its speakers. According to a study conducted in 2008, this language has left only 4 speakers.
Want to know how they say verbs in Tanema? Thank us later!
Laro (to swim), la vamaro (to work), la munana (to lie down).
5. Ongota (birale)
Ongota is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in a tiny village in Ethiopia near the west bank of the Weito River. Unfortunately, there are only 6 elderly fluent speakers of this language left.
Unlike most disappearing languages that are often ignored, Ongota is being rescued by a Professor. At the Adris Ababa University in Ethiopia, a professor aka savior of the language studies Ongota.
6. Lemeirg (Pak, Bek, lem)
Lemeirg is the language of an island named Vanuatu, located in the southern region of the Pacific Ocean. Lemeirg has as few as two people left that can fluently speak this language. This language has four dialects that are reportedly extinct.
Dumi is the language of Nepal. This language is spoken near Tap, Rava river, and the mountains of Khotang. It is a kiranti language that is part of the Tibeto Burman language family. This language has only 8 speakers.
Over time, efforts have been made to collect information about this language. There is a dictionary also available. Moreover, books have been published about the grammar and syntax of Dumi.
Pirahã is thought to be one of the simplest languages in the world. It is a fascinating language of the indigenous people in Brazil. It is a dialect of the Mura language that has survived so many years. It is a rare language spoken by an isolated tribe consisting of a few hundred people.
Archi is a seriously rare language spoken almost exclusively in the village of Archi and 6 smaller nearby villages in Southern Dagestan, Russia. There was no writing system for a long time until 2006; the Cyrillic alphabets were created for this North-East Caucasian language.
It is a unique language with tons of distinguishing sounds. For every verb root, there are over 1.5 million forms to be derived. Do you still think that your intro to Chinese class was hard? Think again!
10. Silbo Gomero (Sylbo)
Whistling is often considered something fun. But, what’s more, surprising is that it’s a way of communication for the people of La Gomera. These canary islanders communicate through this rare yet fascinating way across deep valleys and ravines.
An estimated 20,000 people know this whistled language. It is said that La Gomera’s whistle language was born because of the island’s geographical language.
What Is The Oldest Language?
While talking about rare languages, if you are wondering what was the world’s first language? Or what is the most ancient language? We’ve got an evidence-based answer for your never-ending curiosity!
Tamil is the world’s oldest language as it dates back to 350 BC. The ancient poem ‘Tholkappiyam’ gives us evidence. Many linguists believe that this 5,000-years-old language can be the mother of all other languages.
What Is The Hardest Language To Learn?
Being a tonal language is the most challenging language to master on earth! Spoken by almost a billion people worldwide, Mandarin can be difficult for people who speak a Latin-based native language.
What Are The World’s Least Spoken Languages?
Our world is dominated by some popular languages like English, Chinese, and Arabic, etc. Following are the languages present at the other end of the scale:
1. Taushiro (Peru)
2. Tanema (Solomon Islands)
3. Lemerig (Vanuatu)
4. Njerep (Nigeria)
5. Ongota (Ethiopia)
Every language has its beauty that makes a culture more powerful. Some common languages dominate our world, but rare languages have their own significance that presents a story of past lives.
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