The extinct Languages of Asia
Many languages throughout Asia have become extinct over time. This happens when there are no ancestors fluent in the language to pass it on, and the language no longer has any speakers. We follow the timeline along which some Asian languages have fallen out of currency.
More than 100 languages across the Asian continent have undergone language death, have no native speakers or have no spoken descendants.
year of extinction: 1974
Luzon, Isabela province, Philippines
In 1957, only one family was left speaking the language. By 1974, the remainder of the community neither spoke nor understood the language, rendering the Dicamay Agta extinct.
Kyakhta Russian-Chinese Pidgin
year of extinction: 2000
This pidgin derives its name from a southern Siberian town known as Kyakhta and was an important language used by Russian and Chinese traders in the south of lake Baikai from the early 18th to the middle of the 19th century. A daughter language known as Manchurian Russian-Chinese Pidgin was formed in the second half of the 19th century as Russians gradually encroached upon Manchuria (northeast China).
year of extinction: 2010
Taichung and Miaoli, Taiwan
Pazeh was the language of a community of Taiwanese aboriginals of the same name. Closely related to Saisiyat, the language went extinct in 2010, following the death of the age 96 of Pan Jin-yu, the remaining fluent native speaker.
(Read more on various other extinct languages of Asia from the full story available in print. Subscribe to our magazine here)