ALTA Language Services is a translation company with a blog called “Beyond Words,” providing information on language since March 2008. Four of their posts over the past year have focused on endangered languages.
On April 20, the post “Macanese” looks at a creole spoken in Macau (Macao), a special administration region of China and former colony of Portugal.
When people speaking different languages come together, a language sometimes comes into being and is known as a pidgin. If that pidgin becomes established and children begin learning it as their native language, it is then known as a creole.
The languages that were combined in the formation of Macanese are: Malay (msa), Sinhala (sin), Cantonese (yue), and Portuguese (por). According to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, there were 50 speakers of the language as of 2000. According to Wikipedia, the Macanese diaspora contributed to the loss of the community.
2. Koro (not yet classified by Ethnologue)
The discovery of the Koro Language in the Himalayas discusses Koro, a language discovered by the Enduring Voices Project.
Spoken in the Pacific Northwest, the Salish languages are all endangered or extinct. As noted in the blog post “Salish,” there are signs written in Salish along the road in Montana.
Listed as “definitely endangered” with 20,000 speakers in 2000 by the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, Yeyi has more clicks than any other Bantu language. As noted in “Shiyeyi,” it is spoken in Southern Africa, primarily in the nation Botswana, though speakers are turning to Tswana (tsn), the most widely spoken language in Botswana.
Looking forward to more great articles on endangered languages and other language issues on Beyond Words!