20 Most Endangered Languages In The World

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There are about 2500 languages in this world. Some languages are already dead now and some of the languages are quite endangered.

If we don’t do anything to keep them alive they will go into extinction. A language can be endangered for many reasons.

It may be the speakers of the language can be in physical danger due to natural disasters, battle, and genocide.

With the extinction of the people, their language also dies. Political and cultural aggression is also responsible for the extinction of the language.

Whatever the cause is, here are 20 most endangered languages in the world for you.

Here Are The 20 Endangered Languages In The World

1. Ainu

Ainu Endangered Languages

Ainu is one of the rarest languages still in existence. This language is a Japanese dialect.

Ainu ethnic group members living in Hokkaido speak this language. Till the 20th century, a little number of people used this language as their way of communication.

Hokkaido Ainu is now an endangered language as only 300 people know this language and when comes the question of fluent speaking, the number is only 15.

2. Apiaka

Apiaka Most Endangered Languages In The World

Apiaka is the language of Apiaka people living in Brazil. It has been originated from the Tupi language.

The Apiaka dialect is considered a critically endangered by UNESCO because there is only one person who knows the language fully.

Now, most of the Apiaka people speak in Portuguese and others who intermarry with other tribes speak their spouses’ language.

To revive the language an initiative has been taken and a textbook named “Apiaka word” has been producing.

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3. Bikya


Bikya or Furu is a Bantoid language spoken in Cameroon. This language first attracted our attention when David Dilby, an English linguist made a video of an 87-year-old woman speaking in Bikya.

In 1986 only four people were identified who knows Bikya and only one in his late seventies can speak the language.

Probable this language is already extinct but we have no proof to prove otherwise.

4. Chamicuro

Chamicuro Endangered Languages

Chamicuro language is spoken by the Chamikuro tribe of Peru. The tribe has only 10 to 20 people who live in the tributary of the Huallaga river in a nice plain.

Among the members, only 8 people know the language. A Chamicuro dictionary has been written to revive the language but a single child can’t speak the language as they shifted to Spanish.

5. Chemehuevi


This Uto-Aztecan, Northern Uto-Aztecan, Southern, Numic language is an endangered language.

This language is spoken in Ute, Colorado and in other regions like Pauite, Utah, Northern Arizona, Southern parts of Nevada, and the Colorado River in California by the Chemehuevi tribe.

Though the language is still thriving, only 3 people can fully speak the language.

6. Dumi


This Kiranti language is spoken in some areas of Nepal. Now there are only 8 people who can speak the language.

Therefore it’s a critically endangered language. To preserve this language a dictionary has been made and a number of books have been written about the grammar and syntax of this language.

7. Dusner


Dusner is actually a tribal language and is spoken in Papua, Indonesia. As this language has only 3 speakers, it is critically endangered.

It is a matter of great regret that all of the three people nearly died during natural disasters.

Two of them survived during the flood and the other one from a volcanic eruption. Linguists from the University of Oxford are trying to preserve this language.

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8. Kaixana

Kaixana Endangered Languages

This language was once spoken by villagers near the banks of the Japura river of Amazons till the Portuguese settlers arrived here.

Now the language has only one speaker, a 78-year-old man named Raimundo Avelino.

9. Kansa

Kansa Most Endangered Languages In The World

Kansa once spoken by Kaw people of Oklahoma is a Siouan Language. It’s the last speaker, Walter Kekahbah died in 1983.

But before his death, a linguist name Robert L. Rankin met Kekahbah and two other native speakers of the language named Ralph Pepper and Maud McCauley Rowe.

Rankin made some recordings of the three to document the language.

10. Lemerig

Lemerig Most Endangered Languages In The World

This oceanic language is spoken in Vanuatu, an island in the Pacific Ocean. This language is probably extinct now because in 2008 there was only 2 person who could speak it.

This language has four different dialects and maybe all of them are extinct now.

11. Njerep


This Bantoid language is spoken in Nigeria. It was once spoken in Cameroon too. Different Mambila dialects such as Ba and Myop replaced this language.

In 2017, there were only 4 people who can speak this language and every one of them was above sixty. This made the language critically endangered.

12. Ongota

Ongota Endangered Languages

Ongota is an endangered Afro-Asiatic language spoken in southwest Ethiopia. No, this language has only 6 elderly speakers.

A professor of Addis Ababa University named Aklilu Yilma studies this nearly extinct language. His studies show that the language follows subject+object + verb structure.

13. Patwin


This Native American language is spoken by the Patwin tribe in the Western United States.

Descendants of the Patwin tribe still live outside of San Francisco where there was only one speaker of this language in 1997.

In 2010 Patwin language classes were introduced at the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation tribal school.

There is also a library collection of the Patwin language at the Tewe Keawe Cultural Center.

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14. Pazeh


Pazeh was originated from Austronesian Language and spoken by the Taiwanese aboriginal people.

There was only one native speaker of the language. The sole speaker Pan Jin-Yu died at the age of 96. Before her death, she taught her students this endangered language.

15. Puelche

This is a nearly dead language and is spoken by the Puelche people of Argentina. This language may be related to the Quandt of the Het people or Chon language but there is no concrete proof.  It is thought that this language has only 5/6 speakers.

16. Qawasqar

Qawasqar Endangered Languages

This Alcalutan language was spoken by the Kawesqar people in southern Chile. There are some distinct dialects of this language such as Qawasqar, Kakahua etc.

Now there are only 20 people who can speak this language and half of them live in Wellington Island off the southern coast of Chile.

17. Tanema


This critically endangered language was spoken by the people of Vanikoro island of the Solomon Islands.

In 2012 there was only one person named Lainol Nalo who could speak Tanema. The other people who once spoke Tanema have adopted Pijin or Teanu.

18. Taushiro



Taushiro or Tausiro in Spanish is a language in native Peru. As of 2008, there was only one person who could speak the language fluently.

Other native speakers who once spoke Tausiro now adopted other Spanish languages. This made the language critically endangered.

19. Tinigua

Tinigua Most Endangered Languages In The World

This nearly dead language is spoken by the people living near the Guayabero river in Colombia.

This language came from the dead Pamiqua language. In 2008 there was only one person who could speak the language.

20. Tolowa


This language is spoken by the Native American tribe Tolowa in California.

This language is considered extinct now because in 2008 there was only one person who can speak the language.

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As an experienced travel journalist, my articles have appeared in The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, US News & World Report and many other media. For several years I worked as an adjunct journalism professor and travel columnist. When I'm not on the ski slopes, I can usually be found enjoying afternoon tea as a respite from the hustle and bustle of travel. || Disclaimer: All information provided should be independently verified. Before going on your trip, be sure to consult with your travel agent.

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