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List of last known speakers of languages

Any language is determined to be an extinct language when the last native or fluent speaker of that language dies.

Out of the nearly 7,000 living languages, there are some 500 classified as nearly extinct because "only a few elderly speakers are still living".[1]

Contents

Last known speakers of languagesEdit

Last known speakers of languages
Name Born Died Language Taxonomy Notes
Chesten Marchant unknown 1676 Cornish (last monoglot speaker) Indo-EuropeanCelticInsular CelticBrittonic [notes 1]
Margaret McMurray unknown 1760 Galwegian dialect, Scottish Gaelic Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Goidelic – Scottish Gaelic
Dolly Pentreath unknown 1777 Cornish (traditionally known as the last fluent native speaker; disputed)[2] Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Brittonic [notes 2]
Shanawdithit 1801 c. 1801 1829 Beothuk unclassified
Walter Sutherland unknown 1850 c. 1850 Norn Indo-European – GermanicNorth Germanic – West Scandinavian
Juana Maria unknown 1853 Nicoleño Uto-AztecanNorthernTakic (unclassified beyond the Takic family)
Nikonha 1765 c. 1765 1871 Tutelo SiouanWestern Siouan – Ohio Valley Siouan – Virginia Siouan [notes 3]
Truganini 1812 c. 1812 1876 an unidentified Tasmanian language unknown; there were multiple language families in Tasmania [notes 4]
John Davey 1812 1891 Cornish (some knowledge) Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Brittonic [notes 5]
Tuone Udaina 1823 1898 Dalmatian Indo-European – ItalicRomanceItalo-Dalmatian
Fanny Cochrane Smith 1834 1905 an unidentified Tasmanian language unknown; there were multiple language families in Tasmania [notes 6]
Fidelia Fielding 1827 1908 Mohegan-Pequot AlgicAlgonquianEastern Algonquian
Santu Toney 1835 1910 c. 1910 Beothuk (some knowledge) unclassified [notes 7]
John Mann 1834 1914 c. 1914 Cornish (extent of proficiency unclear) Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Brittonic [notes 8]
Ishi 1860 c. 1860 1916 Yana language isolate [notes 9]
Sally Noble unknown 1922 Chimariko language isolate
Ascencion Solorsano unknown 1930 Mutsun Yok-UtianUtianOhlone/Costanoan – Southern [5]
Frances Johnson unknown 1934 Takelma language isolate
Trruúlmani unknown 1934 Puelche Chon
Watt Sam and Nancy Raven unknown late 1930s Natchez language isolate
Isabel Meadows 1846 1939 Rumsen Yok-Utian – Utian – Ohlone/Costanoan – Southern
Delphine Decloux 1871 1940 Chitimacha language isolate
Sesostrie Youchigant unknown 1940s Tunica language isolate
James Nalig 1870s c. 1870s 1954 Utaha Austronesian – Malayo-PolynesianSouthern OceanicOceanic [6]
Annie O'Hanlon unknown 1960 Leinster dialect, Irish Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Goidelic – Irish
Mary Yee 1897 1965 Barbareño Chumashan – Southern – Central [notes 10]
Manfri Wood unknown 1968 Welsh Romani Indo-EuropeanRomaniNorthern Romani [7]
Ned Maddrell 1877 1974 Manx Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Goidelic [notes 11]
Ángela Loij 1900 c. 1900 1974 Selk’nam[notes 12] Chon
Armand Lunel 1892 1977 Shuadit (Jewish dialect of Occitan) Indo-European – Italic – Romance – WesternIbero-RomanceOccitan
Alf Palmer 1891 c. 1891 1981 Warrungu Pama-NyunganMaric
Séamus Bhriain Mac Amhlaig unknown 1983 Antrim dialect, Irish Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – GoidelicIrish
Jean Bain unknown 1984 Deeside dialect, Scottish Gaelic Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Goidelic – Scottish Gaelic
Jack Butler 1901 1986 Jiwarli dialect, Mantharta Pama-Nyungan – Kanyara–Mantharta – Mantharta
Roscinda Nolasquez 1892 1987 Cupeño Uto-Aztecan – Northern – Takic – Cupan – Cahuilla-Cupeño
Klavdiya Plotnikova 1895 c. 1895 1989 Kamassian UralicSamoyedic – Core Samoyedic – Kamas–Selkup
Morndi Munro unknown 1990s Unggumi dialect, Worrorra Worrorran – Western – Worrorra
Fidela Bernat 1898 1991 Roncalese (Erronkarriko) dialect, Basque Basque is a language isolate
Tevfik Esenç 1904 1992 Ubykh Northwest Caucasian
Take Asai 1901 c. 1901 1994 Sakhalin Ainu Ainu
Algy Paterson unknown 1995 Martuthunira Pama-Nyungan – Ngayarta
Truman Washington Dailey 1898 1996 Otoe-Missouria dialect, Chiwere Siouan – Western Siouan – Mississippi Valley – Chiwere–Winnebago – Chiwere
Vyie unknown 1997 Sirenik Eskimo Eskimo-Aleut – Eskimo – Yupik?
Carmel Charles 1912 1999 Nyulnyul NyulnyulanWestern
Maurice Tabi unknown 2000 Sowa AustronesianMalayo-PolynesianOceanic [8]
Abegaz c. 1920 after 2001 Mesmes West Gurage - Ethiopian Semitic language [9] [10]
Big Bill Neidjie 1920 c. 1920 2002 Gaagudju Arnhem
Edward Leonard Thompson 1904 2002 Unami Lenape AlgonquianEastern Algonquian [notes 13]
Yang Huanyi c. 1909 2004 Nüshu script
Marie Smith Jones 1918 2008 Eyak Na-Dené – Athabascan-Eyak
Ms. Boro unknown 2009 Aka-Kora Great Andamanese – Northern
William Rozario unknown 2010 Cochin Indo-Portuguese creole Portuguese CreoleIndo-Portuguese Creoles
Pan Jin-yu 1914 2010 Pazeh AustronesianNorthwest Formosan
Boa Sr. 1925 c. 1925 2010 Aka-Bo Great Andamanese – Northern
Bobby Hogg 1920 2012 Cromarty fisher dialect, Scots Indo-European – Germanic – West GermanicAnglo-FrisianAnglic
Grizelda Kristiņa 1910 2013 Livonian Uralic – Finnic [notes 14]
Hazel Sampson 1911 2014 Klallam North Straits Salishan LanguagesSalishan Languages [notes 15]
Doris McLemore 1927 2016 Wichita Caddoan – Northern [11]
Edwin Benson 1931 2016 Mandan Siouan – Western Siouan [12]
Charlie Mungulda unknown 2016 Amurdag Iwaidjan [13][14]
Tommy George 1928 2016 Awu Laya Pama–NyunganPaman – Thaypan – Kuku-Thaypan – Awu Laya [15]
Cristina Calderón May 24, 1928 living Yaghan language isolate
Verdena Parker unknown living Hupa Na-Dené – Athabaskan-Eyak – AthabaskanPacific Coast Athabaskan [16][17][notes 16]
Gyani Maiyi Sen 1937 c. 1937 living Kusunda language isolate [18] [notes 17]
Marie Wilcox 1933 living Wukchumni Yok-UtianYokutsan – General Yokuts – Nim – Tule-Kaweah [19]
Sixto Muñoz c. 1933 living Tinigua Tiniguan languages [20]
Elizabeth Phillips c. 1939 living Halq'emeyelem (Upriver Halkomelem) Salishan - Coast Salish - Central - Halkomelem - Halq'emeyelem [21]
Jessie Ross unknown living East Sutherland Gaelic Indo-European – Celtic – Insular Celtic – Goidelic – Scottish Gaelic [22]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Believed to have been the last monoglot Cornish speaker, as opposed to other speakers such as Dolly Pentreath who could also speak English. See Last speaker of the Cornish language.
  2. ^ Possibly the last fluent native speaker of the Cornish language, was monoglot until her twenties. See Last speaker of the Cornish language.
  3. ^ Last full-blooded speaker, though partial knowledge of this language continued among mixed Cayuga-Tutelo descendants for some time.
  4. ^ Considered to be the last full-blood speaker of a Tasmanian language;[3] however, Fanny Cochrane Smith, who spoke one of the Tasmanian languages, outlived her.
  5. ^ A Cornish farmer who was one of the last people with some traditional knowledge of the Cornish language.[4] See Last speaker of the Cornish language.
  6. ^ Considered to be the last fluent speaker of a Tasmanian language.
  7. ^ Recorded a song in Beothuk in 1910.
  8. ^ The last attested native Cornish language speaker, part of a group of children who conversed in Cornish, interviewed in 1914 at the age of 80.[2] See Last speaker of the Cornish language.
  9. ^ Last member of the Yahi, the last surviving group of the Yana people who spoke Yana
  10. ^ Last attested speaker of a Chumashan language
  11. ^ Last surviving native speaker; the language has since been revived.
  12. ^ The last full-blooded Selknam Indian, but some have suggested certain people remained fluent in the languages until the 1980s.
  13. ^ Brother of Lenape traditionalist and language preservation activist Nora Thompson Dean
  14. ^ Last surviving native speaker; some children still learn it as a second language.
  15. ^ Last surviving native speaker; it is being taught as a second language on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.
  16. ^ Last fluent speaker; several non-fluent speakers remain
  17. ^ Last fluent native speaker; several non-fluent speakers remain

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Endangered languages Ethnologue: Languages of the World. (Archived 6 July 2012 at WebCite)
  2. ^ a b "Legend of Dolly Pentreath outlived her native tongue". This is Cornwall. 4 August 2011. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  3. ^ Field linguistics: a beginner's guide.
  4. ^ De Bruxelles, Simon (21 May 2008). "After centuries, Cornish agree how to speak their language". The Times.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 4 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "What happened to Erromango's languages?" by Terry Crowley, The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 106:33-64, No. 1 (1997)
  7. ^ Kenrick, Donald (2010). The A to Z of the Gypsies (Romanies). Toronto: Scarecrow Press. p. 289. ISBN 9780810875616.
  8. ^ Gray (2013), The Languages of Pentecost Island
  9. ^ Ahland, Michael Bryan. (2010). Language death in Mesmes. Dallas: SIL International and the University of Texas at Arlington.
  10. ^ Bustorf, Dirk. (2007). "Mäsmäs”, in: Siegbert Uhlig (ed.): Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 3: D-Ha, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p. 838-39.
  11. ^ "The Last Living Speaker of Wichita : NPR" (Audio interview).
  12. ^ Collins, Bob (December 14, 2016). "Last fluent speaker of Mandan dies". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  13. ^ "Scientists Race Around World to Save Dying Languages". Fox News. Associated Press. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ "Language lost with the passing of 'great elder' Tommy George". The Australian. 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  16. ^ Evans, Nicholas (2010). Dying words: endangered languages and what they have to tell us. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-23305-3.
  17. ^ Newberry, Daniel. "Rescuing Languages From Extinction: The Experience of the Hoopa Valley, Karuk, and Yurok Tribes". Jefferson Public Radio. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  18. ^ "Obscure language isolate will die with this woman". The Hot Word - Hot & Trending Words Daily Blog at Dictionary.com. 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  19. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/opinion/who-speaks-wukchumni.html
  20. ^ Tobal, Juan Pablo (21 February 2013). "El último Tinígua" (in Spanish). La Voz.
  21. ^ "Honorary degree for B.C. elder's efforts to keep her Indigenous language alive". nationalpost.com. June 6, 2018.
  22. ^ "Wilma Ros, Eurabol, air bàsachadh". BBC Naidheachdan. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2018.