09 Apr 9 Languages You Probably Didn’t Know Existed
Language plays a big role in everyone’s life; it is essential to every aspect and interaction in our everyday lives. There are over 6000 languages spoken around the world and hundreds of rare ones that we’re probably not aware of. So, sit back and get ready because we’re going on a journey around three different continents to explore some of the rarest languages.
Amharic also known as Abyssinian, is the official language of the Amhara people of Ethiopia. It is one of the rarest languages in Africa and has its own script called “fidel”; a semi-syllabic system. Amharic belongs to the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, which originated in the Middle East. It ranks as the second-most widely spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic with over 20 million people speaking it as a first language.
The Bemba or Chibemba language is the official and second-most spoken language in Zambia. It is also largely spoken in parts of Tanzania and Congo. Bemba is a Bantu language (a group of African languages) spoken predominantly by the Bemba people and about 18 related tribal groups. There are over 3 million people who speak it!
Igbo is the primary native language of the Igbo ethnic group in southeastern Nigeria. There are more than 24 million people in Africa who speak it. It is a tonal language, written in Latin characters and has more than 20 dialects. Conceptually, it is easy to figure out the meaning of a word or a sentence in Igbo from the tone and expression of the speaker.
Also known as Euskara, the Basque language is one of the oldest languages in Europe spoken by over 600,000 people along the border of Spain and France. Basque is unrelated to any other European languages. It is actually considered as one of the most mysterious languages in the world, puzzling linguists and anthropologists for decades.
Faroese is spoken in Denmark by the Faroese people on the Faroe islands. It is a North Germanic (Scandinavian) language closely related to Icelandic and Norwegian. The Faroese alphabet has 29 letters derived from the Latin script.
You are probably wondering the same, but we are certainly not referring to any rock artists here. Gothic is in fact an East Germanic language spoken by the Goths who originally lived in southern Scandinavia, and later moved to eastern, southern and southwestern Europe. The Gothic alphabet was created in the 4th century and looked like the Greek and Latin alphabets. The language is now extinct, but it is preserved in a few antique manuscripts.
Chamicuro is a critically endangered indigenous American language spoken by the Chamicuro tribe. It is an Arawakan language, which is an ancient South American Indian language group. The Cahmicuro people live in an area called Pampa Hermosa which translates to “beautiful plains”. The language of Chamicuro has an official dictionary, yet it is only spoken by two people in Peru today. This is because many people have shifted to speaking only Spanish.
Sarcee also known as Sarsi, Blitze or Tsuut’ina, is a Northern Athabaskan indigenous language. The native name, Tsúùt’ínà, is translated as “many people” or “nation tribe”. The language is spoken by a small community near Calgary in the Alberta region in West Canada. There are approximately only 50 native speakers left.
The Michif language is spoken by the English-speaking and French-speaking Métis people who are descendants of fur traders. The Métis people are found in the Western provinces in Canada as well as parts of North Dakota and Montana in the United States. Michif borrows from English and other indigenous languages, but it is essentially a combination of Cree (Algonquin language) and French. Surprisingly, most Michif speakers aren’t fluent in either language.
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