Rare languages are defined as languages with very few speakers. Rare languages tend to be most common in geographical areas that are isolated from the rest of the world.
Rare languages are by no means dead languages (like Latin) but they are in danger of becoming extinct. In fact, rare languages are referred to as endangered languages. Let’s take a look at some of the languages that are currently endangered and why they are in danger of disappearing.
Originating in the Loreto region of Peru near the Aucayacu river, this language is currently only spoken by one person called Amadeo Garcìa Garcìa. This ancient Amazonian language possesses about 1,500 known words. A database has been created for the language that also contains 27 stories and three songs.
Similarly to Taushiro, the Tanema language is only spoken by one person. It is spoken by a man who lives on the island of Vanikoro in the archipelago of the Solomon Islands. According to linguists, the Tanema language is practically extinct and will soon be permanently replaced by the Teanu language.
Also originating in the South Pacific, the Lemering language is only spoken by two people who live in the same village on Vanua Lava Island. It is not surprising that there are so many endangered languages in the Pacific Islands, as these speaking communities live in settlements that are far away from each other and the rest of the world.
This Peruvian language is only spoken by two people belonging to the Chamicuro people. When they die, the indigenous group will have completely lost its ancestral language.
There are only six surviving speakers of this language following the prolonged ethnic cleansing of Nigeria throughout history. Speakers of Njerep live in the Taraba region.
This rare language only survives in an isolated village in Ethiopia. It was gradually replaced by the Tsamai language when the Ontota (Ongota-speaking tribe) started marrying Tsamakko women. It is the women, in fact, who teach children to speak, and it is mothers who pass on the Tsamakko language to their children, which has resulted in the gradual decline in the Ongota language.
A South Pacific language, Liki is only spoken by 11 people. It originates from the Papua region of the Indonesian archipelago, which is another group of islands that is extremely isolated from the rest of the world.
Which languages are considered endangered?
We often hear about the 'strangest languages’ in the world and tend to believe they are also rare or endangered. There is, however, an important difference that is fundamental to the art of translation. ‘Rare languages' are languages that are less widely spoken (and therefore less in demand for translation purposes) in Western countries.
Obviously, rare languages change over time. At one point, Mandarin would have been considered a rare language, whereas today, it is a very sought-after language, especially for business translations, given the country's rapid economic expansion.
Eurotrad's language combination service covers a very wide range of languages, including those that are less widely spoken. Find out more about EuroTrad's services, request a free quote or use our 24-hour translation service if you are in a hurry.
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