Last Living Speakers of Dying Languages

There are many different polyglots all over the world and some of them speak languages that are dying. However, not all of the polyglots on the list of the living polyglots speak the endangered languages, but they do concentrate on learning several languages. There are many others, however, who do speak them.

Just because these languages are dying out doesn't mean that they aren't important because they are. At one point these languages were spoken on a daily basis between family and friends. These languages need to be learned or least documented at the very least before they die. These last people who speak the languages are doing whatever they can to help and benefit these languages.

Edwin Benton is fluent in Mandan, which comes from the Native American Mandan tribe. This language was spoken by these people before they became the nation called Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa. The nation is located in North Dakota on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Benton has been working on endangered language education by teaching students this language for years.

Cristina Calerdón is the last speaker of Yaghan since her brother's wife passed away in 2005. She is also the last full blood member of the Yaghan clan that live near Tierra del Fuego. The Yaghan people were known for living at the southernmost point of the country. She currently resides in Chile on Navarino Island and recently published 'Hai Kur Mamashu Shis', which is a book full of stories from the Yaghan people. The title translates into 'I Want to Tell You a Story'.

Doris Jean Lamar McLemore is the last known speaker of Wichita. She was brought up by her grandparents who taught her the language. She has been working with the University of Colorado's linguist David Cook for over 50 years now to preserve and document the language.

Charlie Mungulda is the last known speaker of Amurdag, a language that was wrongly declared to be extinct many years ago. Amurdag is the language spoken by the Aborigines in the Northern Territory of Australia. Mungulda is losing some of the language since there is nobody else to converse with in the language, but before it goes completely he is trying to get as much documented as possible.

Verdena Parker is the last speaker of Hupa after she learned it from her grandmother. She currently is working with both Berkeley and Stanford to fully get the many different issues regarding the language written down. She has also developed a program for high school students that involves immersion in the language.

John Steckley a Canadian born academic is the last known speaker of Wyandot. He was adopted in 1999 by the tribe and has been given 2 different names. These names are Huron and Tehaondechoren. He has also recently published a dictionary of the language, which hasn't been done in more than 250 years.

Just because the more prominent polyglots aren't learning these languages doesn't mean they aren't important enough to learn. If more people don't learn these languages one day they will be extinct and only a mere memory.


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