A subject I have always been fascinated and passionate about is the plight of endangered languages. Not many people know or perhaps understand what that is, but I would love to share it with you, so I created a new weekly topic that explores it, focusing on one language a week. With the help and blessing of The Endangered Languages Project, we would like to bring some awareness to this serious tragedy to our readers, and literature being a language in written form– I thought went well with the theme of the blog.

(For more information about Endangered Languages, refer to the last post here .

According to Wikipedia, here is a list of languages that have become extinct (that experts know of– they believe that many may have passed on without ever being documented), and because of our modern technology, the exact date of death of some of  the languages  is known  with the death of the last living speaker:

Languages that have become extinct (from year 2000 until 2016)

 

Date Language Language family Region Notes
9 December 2016 Mandan Siouan North Dakota, United States with the death of Edwin Benson[1]
30 August 2016 Wichita Caddoan Oklahoma, United States with the death of Doris McLemore[2]
29 July 2016 Gugu Thaypan Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia with the death of Tommy George[3]
February 2016 Nuchatlaht dialect of Nuu-chah-nulth Wakashan British Columbia, Canada with the death of Alban Michael[4]
4 February 2014 Klallam Salishan Washington, United States with the death of Hazel Sampson[5]
5 June 2013 Livonian Uralic > Finnic Latvia with the death of Grizelda Kristina[6]
26 March 2013 Yurok Algic California, United States with the death of Archie Thompson[7]
2 October 2012 Cromarty dialect of Scots Germanic Northern Scotland, United Kingdom with the death of Bobby Hogg [8]
ca. 2012 Dhungaloo Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia with the death of Roy Hatfield[9]
11 July 2012 Upper Chinook Chinookan Oregon, United States with the death of Gladys Thompson[10]
10 March 2012 Holikachuk Na-Dene AlaskaUnited States with the death of Wilson “Tiny” Deacon[11]
2011 Lower Arrernte Pama-Nyungan Northern Territory, Australia with the death of Brownie Doolan Perrurle[12]
24 October 2010 Pazeh Austronesian Taiwan with the death of Pan Jin-yu[13]
20 August 2010 Cochin Indo-Portuguese Creole Portuguese-based Creole Southern India with the death of William Rozario[13]
26 January 2010 Aka-Bo Andamanese Andaman Islands, India with the death of Boa Sr.[14]
November 2009 Aka-Kora Andamanese Andaman Islands, India with the death of Ms. Boro[15]
2009 Aka-Jeru Andamanese Andaman Islands, India [16]
2009 Nyawaygi Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia with the death of Willie Seaton[17]
by 2009 Gugu Badhun Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia
by 2009 Muruwari Pama-Nyungan Queensland and New South Wales, Australia [18]
by 2009 Agavotaguerra Arawakan Brazil [19]
by 2009 Arikem Tupian Brazil [20]
by 2009 Karipúna Tupian Brazil [21]
by 2009 [22] Pataxó Hã-Ha-Hãe unclassified Brazil
by 2009 Aribwatsa Malayo-Polynesian Papua New Guinea [23]
by 2009 Lelak Malayo-Polynesian SarawakMalaysia [4]
by 2009 Papora-Hoanya Austronesian Taiwan [24]
2008 Plains Apache Na-Dene > Athabaskan Oklahoma, United States with the death of Alfred Chalepah, Jr.
after April 2008 Dura Sino-Tibetan Nepal with the death of Soma Devi Dura[25]
21 January 2008 Eyak Na-Dene Alaska, United States with the death of Marie Smith Jones[26]
10 August 2007 Gros Ventre Algic > Algonquian Montana, United States [27] with the death of Theresa Lamebull[28]
ca. 2007 Javindo Dutch-based creole JavaIndonesia [29]
11 July 2006 Wasco dialect of Upper Chinook Chinookan Oregon, United States with the death of Madeline Brunoe McInturff[30]
ca. 2006 (?) A-Pucikwar Andamanese Andaman Islands, India [31]
after 2005 Whulshootseed Salishan Washington, United States with the death of Ellen Williams [32][33]
2005 Berbice Creole Dutch Dutch-based creole Guyana with the death of Bertha Bell[34]
2005 Osage Siouan Oklahoma, United States with the death of Lucille Roubedeaux[35]
by 2005 Barrow Point Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia [36]
ca. 2004 (?) Duli Niger-Congo > Adamawa Cameroon [37]
29 December 2003 Akkala Sami Uralic > Sami Kola Peninsula, Russia with the death of Marja Sergina[38][39]
2003 Klamath-Modoc Penutian Oregon, United States [40]
2003 Garig Ilgar Pama-Nyungan Northern Territory, Australia [41]
by 2003 Alngith Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia
by 2003 Areba Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia [42]
by 2003 Atampaya Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia [43]
by 2003 Umbindhamu Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia [44]
31 August 2002 Unami Algic > Algonquian Delaware, United States with the death of Edward Thompson[45]
23 May 2002 Gaagudju Arnhem Land languages Northern Territory, Australia with the death of Big Bill Neidjie[46]
2002 Serrano Uto-Aztecan California, United States with the death of Dorothy Ramon
by 2001 Amanayé Tupian Brazil [47]

20th century[edit]

Date Language Language family Region Notes
20th century |Xam Tuu South Africa
2000 Sowa Malayo-Polynesian Pentecost IslandVanuatu with the death of Maurice Tabi
ca. 2000 Mesmes Semitic Ethiopia with the death of Abegaz[48][49]
20th-21st century (?) Ayabadhu Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia [50]
20th-21st century (?) Aghu Tharnggala Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia [50]
20th-21st century (?) Adithinngithigh Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia
20th-21st century (?) Arritinngithigh Pama-Nyungan Queensland, Australia
20th-21st century (?) Gurnai Pama-Nyungan Victoria, Australia [50] now being revived

Languages that became extinct (from 1990-2000)

1999 Nyulnyul Pama-Nyungan Australia with the death of Carmel Charles [51]
by 1999 Ineseño Chumashan California, United States [52]
1998 Mlahsô Semitic SyriaTurkey with the death of Ibrahim Hanna [53]
1997-98 Ngarnka Pama-Nyungan Australia
by 1998 Skepi Creole Dutch Dutch-based creole Guyana [54]
late 1990s Munichi unclassified Loreto RegionPeru with the death of Victoria Huancho Icahuate
1997, January Sireniki Yupik Eskimo–Aleut Chukotka Peninsula, Russia with the death of Valentina Wye[55]
ca. 1996 (?) Malaryan Dravidian Kerala and Tamil Nadu, India [56]
1996 Iowa-Oto Siouan Oklahoma and Kansas, United States with the death of Truman Dailey[57]
by 1996 Katabaga Malayo-Polynesian The Philippines [58]
by 1996 Palumata Austronesian Maluku, Indonesia [59]
before 1996 Seru Malayo-Polynesian SarawakMalaysia [60]
ca. 1990s Lumaete dialect of Kayeli Malayo-Polynesian central MalukuIndonesia [61]
1990s Unggumi Worrorra Australia with the death of Morndi Munro[62]
ca. 1990s Taman variety of Sak Sino-Tibetan Myanmar [63]
6 August 1995 Martuthunira Pama-Nyungan Western Australia with the death of Algy Paterson[64]
after 1994 Aka-Cari Andamanese Andaman Islands, India
30 April 1994 Sakhalin Ainu Ainu languages Japan with the death of Take Asai[65]
1994 Northern Pomo Pomoan (Hokan?) California, United States with the death of Edna Guerrero
1993 Andoa Zaparoan Peru [66]
1993 Eastern Abnaki Algic > Algonquian Maine, United States with the death of Madeline Shay[67][68]
7 October 1992 Ubykh Northwest Caucasian Balıkesir ProvinceTurkey with the death of Tevfik Esenç[69]
1991 Roncalese (Erronkariko) dialect Basque (language isolate) Spain with the death of Fidela Bernat[70]
1991 Pánobo Panoan Peru [71]
1990 Shasta Shastan California, United States
1990 Wappo Yuki–Wappo California, United States with the death of Laura Fish Somersal[72]

The Endangered Language will focus on this week is:

Achumawi

 

[aka Achumawi, Achomawi, Pitt River]

Classification: Palaihnihan

·critically endangered

Achumawi, Achomawi, Pitt River, Achoma’wi, Achowawi

Palaihnihan

ISO 639-3

acv

As csv

OLAC search

Language information by source

(Note: From the Parlametric series of sound recordings in the Alan Lomax Collection: T5036 R12, Achumawi folktale, 1/4″ wide magnetic audio tape, 7″ reel, 7.5 ips, recording by unknown. This is a recording from Alan Lomax’s Parlametrics collection (http://research.culturalequity.org/ps…), which is comprised of recordings made by linguists from around the world as well as by Alan Lomax himself. Through a collaboration with The Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project (http://rosettaproject.org/blog/02011/…), the original reel-to-reel tapes were digitized, cataloged, and are now available through multiple online sources. The original notes that accompanied the tapes were at times incomplete, indefinite, illegible or missing.)

Document:

This is a description of the Achumawi language done in 1930 by de Angulo and Freeland who were married and working as Linguists in Berkeley

 

Jaime de Angulo and L. S. Freeland

Amelia Shettle

year: 1930. Not 1950 (won’t go further back).

1950

Grammar

English

The above book can be found on Google books to read for free here.

For further reading about Achumawi, any of these resources may be of help:

  • Endangered Languages Catalogue Project. Compiled by research teams at University of Hawai’i Mānoa and Institute for Language Information and Technology (LINGUIST List) at Eastern Michigan University . (2012) ·
  • Endangered Languages of the United States ( pp. 108-130 ) . Christopher Rogers, Naomi Palosaari and Lyle Campbell (2010) · In Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing edited by Christopher Moseley · UNESCO
  • North America ( pp. 7-41 ) . Victor Golla and Ives Goddard and Lyle Campbell and Marianne Mithun and Mauricio Mixco (2008) · In Atlas of the World’s Languages edited by Chris Moseley and Ron Asher · Routledge
  • The World Atlas of Language Structures . (2005) · edited by Bernard Comrie and David Gil and Martin Haspelmath and Matthew S. Dryer · Oxford University Press
  • North America ( pp. 1-96 ) . Victor Golla (2007) · In Encyclopedia of the World’s Endangered Languages edited by C. Moseley · London & New York: Routledge
  • California Indian Languages . Golla, Victor (2011) · University of California Press
  • The Shasta-Achumawi: A New Linguistic Stock, with Four New Dialects ( pp. 213-217 ) . Roland B. Dixon (1905) · American Anthropologist. 7 (2) ·
  • Reconstructing Achumawi and Atsugewi: Proto-Palaihnihan revisited . Jeff Good and Teresa McFarland and Mary Paster (2003) ·
  • Achumawi ( pp. 225-235 ) . D. L. Olmsted and Omer C. Stewart (1978) · In California Handbook of North American Indians · Vol. 8 · edited by Robert F. Heizer · Smithsonian Institution, Washington:
  • The Achumawi Language ( pp. 77-120 ) . Jaime de Angulo and L. S. Freeland (1930) · International Journal of American Linguistics. 6 (2) ·
  • Loon, coyote, and fox (Ajumawi) ( pp. 66-70 ) . Olmsted, David L. (1977) · In Northern California Texts Native American Text Series · Vol. 2:2 · edited by Victor Golla and Shirley Silver · Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • A History of Palaihnihan Phonology . Olmsted, David L. (1964) · University of California Press
  • Achumawi Dictionary . Olmsted, David L. (1966) · University of California Press
  • The Achumawi Language ( pp. 77-120 ) . de Angulo, Jaime and Freeland, L. S. (1931) · International Journal of American Linguistics. 6 (2) ·
  • Loon, coyote, and fox (Ajumawi) ( pp. 66-70 ) . Olmsted, David L. (1977) ·Northern California Texts, International Journal of American Linguistics, Native American Text Series. 2 (2) ·
 If you happen to know someone that is a speaker of this language, please encourage them to document (writing, video, audio) their memories of their native culture, them speaking, their history– nothing is too trivial, to preserve it for future generations. The videos, audio and writing can be uploaded to The Endangered Languages Project to add to their library and database, and please, if possible support The Endangered Languages Project, which is all volunteer, nonprofit and striving tirelessly to preserve as many endangered languages world-wide as possible.