Want to know about the least spoken languages in the world? According to Ethnology, there are 7099 living languages spoken in the world. People learn languages that are popular worldwide and help them in personal and professional growth. As a result, many languages are getting extinct.
At present, 3,000 endangered languages are disappearing from the world at an alarming rate. National Geographic states that one language disappears from the world after every 14 days and many few languages are recognizable. These languages are spoken by the elder people of the community. Therefore, they get rare when old people die.
No doubt that the younger generation learns languages from their ancestors. However, at present, grandparents don’t speak their language with the young generation which also makes their language extinct.
Another thing that makes a language go extinct is that government doesn’t take the initiative to preserve such languages and they also lack proper writing systems.
Top 17 Least Spoken Language in the World
The least spoken languages in the world are determined by several speakers. UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger has provided a list of 1078 languages with speakers of less than 1,000. Let’s have a look at the least spoken languages in the world. Surprisingly, you must not have heard the names of these languages.
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Njerep is the language spoken in Cameroon Africa and on the Nigerian borders. Twenty years ago there were only four people that can speak this language. The important thing to note is that the youngest speaker of this language is 80 years old.
There is no report that this person is still alive or died. The Njerep speakers communicate with each other in this language.
However, they don’t use this language regularly which makes it the least spoken language in the world.
Even though this language was studied and its record is in some of the books but still there is no chance of this language revival.
Kawishana is also called Kaixana. It is a Kawishana language derived from Brazil. People living in Brazil and close to the Japura River spoke this language. It was a popular language once spoken by 200 people but this number started dropping.
According to the rough estimate, there is only one person who can speak this language. Therefore, this language is dying in the world.
Indigenous Australian tribes that lived in the Darling River in New South Wales spoke Paakantyi language. The name Paakantyi is derived from the word depicting river or paaka.
People between the numbers 2 and 24 speak this language. To increase its number of speakers, many schools have started teaching it in local schools.
At present, it is the least spoken language in the world but making the effort of teaching it in school will exclude it from the least spoken languages of the world.
Another name for this language is Moar. Liki language is derived from the Sarmi-Jayapura Bay languages. People residing in the Papua area in Indonesia and islands off the coast of Sarmi Kecamatan, Sarmi, and Jayapura Kabupaten spoke this language.
It was a popular language once and was used by native church officials in the region. Within the ethnic population of 320, there were 11 speakers of Liki that are decreasing with time.
Chemehuevi is from the Uto-Aztecan language family and it is from one of the Numic language branches. People living in the U.S Midwest, Southern region of Nevada, Northern part of Arizona, Southern Paiute, Colorado river in California Ute speak this language with little fluency.
This language was studied by linguist Margaret L. Press in the 1970s and is preserved in the form of notes and recordings. The number of people that speak this language is 3 to 5.
Dumi is a Kiranti language. People living in Rava and Tap rivers speak this language. It has also influenced the languages spoken in the Northern Khotang district of Nepal. It is derived from the Kiranti branch of the Tibeto-Burman.
As per old statistics, there were only 7 speakers of this language. Although Dumi has also written records in the form of grammar and dictionaries still it is the least spoken language in the world.
The other name of this language is Chamicolo or Chamicura. It is a traditional language in Peru. Only two people were a speaker of this language.
No children can speak this language because they prefer Spanish over this language. The people that speak this language before have also developed a dictionary. Therefore, this language is also in written form.
Ongota is one of the least spoken languages in the world. Only 12 people in the world used to speak this language.
These people live in the Southwestern region of Ethiopia You can hear this language in the village which is located to the West of the Weyt,o river.
Different initiatives are taken by the government to save the language as this language is getting extinct.
The other name of this language is Pinchi. It is from the Tupian family. People living in the areas of Loreto region and around the Tigre River, Ahuaruna River tributary, and the Aucayacu River in Peru speak this language.
It is one of the two languages in the world that use the voiceless retroflex lateral fricative for the sounds. Thus, it uses whistles to communicate the system of social hierarchy.
Pawnee is a native American Indian dialect. People living in Nebraska and north central Oklahoma speak this language. Only 10 people were native to Pawnee and they were all old people.
In the Pawnee tribe, the children speak English as their mother tongue whereas chiefs and the old people of this tribe speak this language fluently. This dialect has nine consonants and eight vowels. The pronunciation of the consonants resembles English.
The Chana language is a member of the Mataco-Guarani family of languages. People living in Paraguay and Argentina speak this language. It is mutually intelligible with Guaraní language and both share a common history with Mataco language.
Chana is the least spoken language in the world and it has only one native speaker according to UNESCO.
Ainu is native to the Northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The number of native speakers is between 2 and 15. People associate this language with the languages spoken in Siberia but this association has no proof.
The Ainu people have their own unique culture and their type of singing called kamu yukar is famous.
The smaller number of speakers and the fact that this language is not taught in schools make it the least spoken language in the world.
Kallawaya is the endangered language of the Quenchua family. Only 20 people speak it as its second language. The interesting thing about this language is that this language does not have a standard writing system.
Therefore, they use a system of knots and colors to recognize the language. It is the oral language that people use to communicate with plants and spirits.
This language is the least spoken because now people don’t use traditional healing practices.
Cayuga is a Northern Iroquoian language. Around 60 million people in Canada and the United States speak this language. It is one of the few surviving languages of the Iroquoian languages.
It is a polysynthetic language which means that words used in the language are extremely long and complex.
Cayuga is the least spoken language because only 30 people used this language as their mother tongue.
Limerig is the language of Vanuatu. You will find many few speakers of this language in the world. Vanuatu is the region of the South Pacific which is a geographically isolated region.
If you visit this region then you can hardly find any person speaking Limerig language. The other name of this language is Bek and Sasar.
You can find a few speakers in the Torba province which is the coastal province of Vanua Lava in Vanuatu.
Kawe is a dialect of Maya language. Only a few hundred people in the Raja Ampat islands in West Papua Indonesia speak this language.
This language is from the group of Austronesian languages. This group also includes more than a hundred languages that are spoken in this region.
Sileibi is a member of the Trans-New Guinea language family that include other languages also which are spoken the in the province of Papua region of Indonesia. Only 200 speakers speak this language and these speakers are old.
This is because a new generation of Indonesia likes to speak the Indonesian language. Sileibi language has no written form so it is expected that this language can be extinct soon.
Most of the least spoken languages of the world are ancient ones. By studying them, you can have an idea of old civilizations and their way of living.
Whether the language is the least spoken or the most spoken one, everyone loves his language. To get along in a globalized world, it is important to unlearn old languages and learn new ones.