Skip to main content

Friday Five - Endangered Languages

Friday Five

Today is International Mother Language Day, a worldwide observance since 2000 which has its roots in the Bengali Language Movement of the 1950s. About half of the world's c. 7,000 living languages are predicted to be dead within the next 100 years, and 6% of them are already classified as being almost extinct.

In line with the day's aims, here are five European languages classified as critically endangered...

#5. Kernewek (Cornish)

Cornish, like Welsh and Breton, is a descendant of Old Brittonic. It survived well into the middle ages and only really began to lose its dominance in Cornwall after the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. Speaker numbers fell rapidly from that point onwards and today, even with government intervention, there are estimated to be less than 1,000 fluent speakers.

The spelling is more anglicised, but you can see the similarities with Welsh from the postcard below. For more information check out Dyski Kernewek (Learn Cornish).


#4. līvõ kēļ (Livonian)

Spoken on the Livonian Coast of Latvia, Livonian - a language closely related to Estonian - was once spoken by upwards of 30,000 people. By 1900 that number had fallen to under 3,000 and, in spite of extra language protections following the fall of the Soviet Union, the language was declared dead in 2013. It has since been fighting back though, with university courses and social media exercises.


#3. τσακώνικα (Tsakonian)

The only living descendant of the Ancient Greek dialect of Doric, Tsakonian is today spoken by a few hundred people in the Peloponnese peninsula. It is not close enough to modern Greek to be mutually intelligible, and some of its dialects have already died out. As of 2020 it has no official language status, though efforts are being made to both preserve and promote it.


#2. Gagauzça (Gagauz)

The official language of Gagauzia (The Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia in Moldova, pop. 135,000), Gagauz is a Turkic language also spoken in parts of Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Gagauz is especially interesting for the way it has been adapted to a string of different alphabets; it was first written with Greek letters, then Cyrillic, before moving to an adaption of the modern Turkish alphabet in 1996. Although it has language protection it is rarely used as an administrative language, and education in Gagauzia is mostly delivered in the medium of Russian.

To see it in action, check out the website of Ana Sözü, a Gagauz newspaper.

Gagauz Republic Flag

#1. Galick (Manx Gaelic)

Back to the UK and another Celtic language, Manx is a historic language of the Isle of Man. Although it lacks official status and was once considered all but dead, persistent efforts to keep the language alive have ensured its survival and continued relevance - Manx is now taught as a second language in the island's schools, and there is no shortage of media both produced in and translated into Manx.

Check out Learn Manx to join the c. 2,000 Manx speakers.


Are you learning an endangered language? Let me know in the comments! :)

For more like this, click the image below:
Friday Five


Popular posts from this blog

Free Magazine Scans

Click the pictures below to find full cover guides to various teen magazines (primarily collated to make scale miniature magazine covers but I figure they'll also be useful for collectors and anyone into media history) and scans from my own magazine collection. I've also got a couple of kids' books I didn't want to part with - The Squirrel and Little Owl Book of Pets . The unwieldy size of my bookmark folders convinced me I needed a reference post for online magazine archives. Or, more accurately, free online magazine archives. Whether you're looking for leisure reading or research avenues, you're bound to find something useful in this list. :) ☆ Archive for the Unexplained - UFO mags galore. ☆   The Magazine Rack - over 140,000 digitised magazines! ☆   Lantern - thousands of vintage film magazines. ☆ FANZINES  - a number of online archives now exist for these including  FANAC  (SF), ScoTpress  (Trek), Sandy Herald Collection  (media fandom, major

50 Free Welsh Language Resources

Unlike literacy and maths, Welsh really isn't a subject we'll be using everyday without a concerted effort to do so. Every morning we've been doing three Duolingo lessons with Marianna - challenging for me and repetition of basic words and concepts for her - and then watching a couple of Welsh language cartoons to listen to the rhythm of the words and so on. Here is a list of free Welsh language resources from around the web, ranging from GCSE revision guides to adult basics to children's cartoons uploaded to YouTube. Hopefully you'll be able to mix and match to suit your own needs over the next few weeks and months. (I'd normally direct people to places like Sain Wales to buy hard copy media, but they're closed for the duration and we should try to lighten the load on the postal service to essentials besides.) Apps . Handy rundown of Welsh language kids' apps from Montgomery Church in Wales School. Atebol . Welsh language story time on Yo

Simply Cook Review

I kept seeing ads and deals for Simply Cook everywhere, so as there was a special offer on at OhMyDosh! Rewards (£3 for the box and £3.50 cashback) I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. What Is It? Recipe kits packed into boxes which fit through your letterbox. The usual price is £9.99 for a kit of 4, with each one serving 2-4 people depending on your serving sizes. All you need to do is buy the fresh ingredients required and follow the instructions. Here is Simply Cook's own helpful diagram: Does It Work? For me, as the person just eating it, it was awesome. Everything tasted great - the mushroom penne in particular was so good I went back for seconds - and I liked that the sauces weren't as rich as Anthony would usually make them. For Anthony, who cooked them, they weren't as impressive. He complained that the food was bland and that it was actually quite a lot of faff, as Lidl didn't stock everything we needed which meant another trip ou

Free Fabric Samples x 200

Choosing upholstery and soft furnishings can be a nightmare - especially if it arrives and isn't quite what you expected. Fabric samples are a great way to avoid costly mistakes, as well as providing a fab source of material for your crafts box. Here are over 200 places offering completely free fabric samples in the UK:

Welsh UFO Sightings 2016

Welsh UFO sightings from 2016. For sightings from other years please click HERE . UK UFO Sunday 3rd January, 01:25 Gwent Witness saw a 'typical space ship' through their bedroom window. It had blue and red lights, and appeared to be moving towards them. They watched for a few minutes and the next day reported the sighting to UK UFO. FM: " I was up really late and i needed to use the bathroom so i got up and my side of the bed is by the window, so i had a look out. i saw an object shaped like a typical space ship would look, but it had blue and red lights and appeared to be coming towards me. i watched it for a while and then left to use the bathroom and by the time i had returned (5 minutes later) the mysterious lights had almost disappeared into the distance. " SUFON Tuesday 5th January, 09:20 Bevan Close, Waunarlwydd, Swansea  Broken cloud. Brian Harry was at home in Bevan Close, Waunarlwydd and had just let his dog out the back