Asian Languages on the Verge of Falling Out Of Use

 

S’aoch

SAMRONG LOEU VILLAGE, CAMBODIA, 10 SPEAKERS

The numbers of S’aoch people were decimated under the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, which ruled from 1975 to 1979 and had a policy of executing any S’aoch who dared to speak in their native tongue. In 2010, only 10 elderly members of the S’aoch indigenous minority living in their village outside their traditional land still spoke this language.

 

Mednyj Aleut

BERING ISLAND, 5 SPEAKERS

Also known as Copper Island Aleut, Mednyj Aleut is a moribund mixed language originally spoken on Mednyj Island, off the coast of Kamchatka. However, that population was moved to Bering Island in 1970. It is characterised by fusing Russian and Aleut. The first speakers were children who had one parent of each descent. The language they created and passed on is mostly similar to Aleut, but with Russian verb endings and many Russian words mixed in the vocabulary. As of the early 2000s, there were only five fluent speakers left.

 

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