Nearly Extinct Languages


You’ve joined Mandarin classes in Singapore to learn Mandarin Chinese because it is the language with maximum speakers in the world. That’s great news, learning Chinese might open new career opportunities for you, besides bringing you closer to one of the richest and colorful cultures in the world.

While Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, there are many other languages on the verge of extinction. Here is a list of few nearly extinct languages.


This language is extremely rare, with only 300 users at present. With that said, efforts are made to revive Ainu, which is a Japanese dialect belonging to a small ethnic group living in Hokkaido island.


This language is spoken by Apiaka people residing in Mato Grosso, Brazil. This language comes under the category of critically engendered, as there is only one fluent speaker left. Several attempts have been made in the past to revive this language, but they were largely unsuccessful. However, a new initiative has been taken to revive this nearly extinct language.


This language is—or was?—spoken in Cameroon. The other name for this language is Furu. Bikya came into limelight when a linguist filmed old women speaking in this language. In 1987, experts had identified 4 surviving speakers. It is possible that there might be no surviving speaker of Bikya, but we don’t know this for sure. And that’s why its name appears in the nearly extinct languages list rather than in already extinct languages list.


This is another language whose name features in the critically endangered languages list. No more than eight people can speak Chamicuro. It belongs to a native tribe of the same name, living in Peru. There are only 10-20 people left of this tribe. There’s a Chamicuro dictionary which was created, but no Chamicuro child can speak this language as everyone learned Spanish instead.


This language is spoken within a small area in Khotang District of Nepal. Dumi is also a critically endangered language as there are only 8 speakers left. Attempts have been made to revive this language. One dictionary and several books regarding the syntax and grammar of this language have been written.


There’s only one Kaixana speaker left, a 78-year old man living in Japura. Therefore, this language is also a critically endangered language. Earlier, this language was spoken by people living in a village on the banks of Japura River.  


This language is spoken in a small village tucked in southwestern Ethiopia, close to Weito River. There are only 6 speakers, all of them in their old age now left. The remaining inhabitants of the village now speak Tsamai language.  


This language belongs to aboriginal people of Taiwan. There is one speaker left, an old woman. However, she has taught the language to 200 students in Puli and some other students in Taichung and Miaoli.

Apart from these 8 languages, there are many more languages that are nearly extinct. If you are interested in learning a rare language, you might have to work really, really hard. On the other hand, if you are interested to learn Chinese in Singapore, you will have to join a mandarin group class.

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