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Evenki language

It is spoken by 28,000 Evenks in Russia, Mongolia, and northern China. This northern Tunguska people engaged in reindeer husbandry have developed an extremely rich vocabulary for detailed conversations about these animals. They have more than 30 words to describe reindeer, depending on gender, age, and coat, e.g., a reindeer harnessed on the left side is an ankh; a reindeer that cannot be trained is a mullikan, and one with a patch on its muzzle is a kokchavar, etc. 1)

Sentinelese language

It is spoken by 250 Sentinels from the Adaman archipelago (India). It is famous for being one of the few in the world that has not been studied by any scientists. It is in danger of extinction, as only 100-250 people speak it. No Sentinel people since Paleolithic times have left the island, which is 60 square kilometers. The natives are hostile to outsiders, and it's probably because of this that they have survived. Colonizers approaching on boats were fired upon with poisoned arrows. Because of this separation, neither about the language nor about the tribe practically nothing can be said. 2)

Rotokas language

It is spoken by 4,000 residents of the island of Bougainville (Papua New Guinea). It has an extremely simplified phonetic system, consisting of only 11 sounds: 5 vowels and 6 consonants. It is unclear what role the accent plays in it. However, such a small number of sounds does not at all interfere with casual conversation. 3)


It is spoken by 5000 Bushmen of northern Namibia and southern Angola. Belongs to the khoisan family. It has the highest number of phonemes or distinct sounds. In addition, there are as many as 48 clacking sounds (sounds that can be compared to clacking). The exclamation point in the language's name stands for the so-called burr clack. For a European, it is not only impossible to pronounce them, but even to recognize a particular sound from others. 4)

Javanese language

It is spoken by the 85 million inhabitants of the island of Java. Depending on the interlocutor, one must use a different vocabulary, syntax, and even accent. In conversations with family, friends, and the elderly, a variant of ngoko is used; in official situations, kroma speech is used. An intermediate version is the madya language, which is spoken by strangers. Every resident of the island must therefore assimilate all three modes of communication. 5)

Nuxalk language

It is spoken by 200 Indians from British Columbia (Canada). Unlike the rest of the world's languages, words in this language cannot be divided into syllables, as they contain neither vowels nor glottal sonants. A small number of vowels, only two or three, are also present in Inuit and Inuit languages. In the scientific literature, Nuxálk language users have so far usually been referred to as Bella Coola, although they themselves are unlikely to accept this name, given to them by the Heiltsuk tribe (Bella Bella). 6)

Hopi language

It is spoken by 500 Hopi Indians from Arizona (USA). The language is famous for its unique system of tenses. Actions are not categorized as accomplished, present, and future, but as events, predicates and generalizations. This is because Hopi Indians do not pay attention to the chronology of events, but to what the sender thinks about them. In addition, short-lived phenomena such as a flame or a wave, which in other languages are treated as nouns, for Hopi are verbs. 7)


The Greek for the @ symbol translates to “duckling.” The Korean translates to “whelk,” and the Greenlandic to “something that looks like an ‘a.'” 8)

Piraha language

It is spoken by 300 Piraha Indians from the Amazon (Brazil). The alphabet consists of only 11 sounds: 8 consonants and 3 vowels. There are no words for numbers or colors at all. Indians cope by using descriptive terms like much and little, dirty blood, and bright leaf. The vocabulary for kinship is also very limited - the same word means both mother and father, and other family members are not named at all. There is a lack of compound sentences (instead of “he knows how to make an arrow,” they say “he knows how to make arrows”), while verb conjugation is very complicated (by 16 categories) with unalterable nouns and pronouns. The language also has a whistling variety. 9)

Silbo language

It is spoken by 20,000 inhabitants of La Gomera (Canary Islands). These islanders have been communicating through whistles since ancient times because such a language worked best over long distances in mountain valleys. Silbo has only two vowels (high or low) and four consonants (rising or falling in the melodic line, intermittent or continuous), and its sound is modeled after the local Spanish dialect. Since it is a language in danger of extinction, its learning was introduced into local schools in the 1990s. 10)

Tuyuca language

Considered one of the most difficult languages imaginable. The indigenous people speak it of eastern Amazonia. Tuyuca is a polysynthetic language, with no distinction between words and sentences. In addition, while in Polish there are three types (masculine, feminine, and neuter), tuyuca has as many as 140. The number of speakers of this language is about 1,000. 11)

Archi language (Аршиштиб)

The Archi language is spoken by about 1,000 people living in the village of Archi (and several surrounding villages) on the Caspian coast of southern Dagestan. The language has no written form and is used only in informal situations by family members and acquaintances. 12)

Yupik language

Yupik is an Inuit language spoken by some 12,000 people living in western and south-central Alaska and northeastern Siberia. Interestingly, the language comes in five varieties, differing to such an extent that residents of the various regions where it occurs are not always able to communicate with each other. It is a polysynthetic language, meaning that single words can contain longer content, e.g. “tuntussuqatarniksaitengqiggtuq” means “he didn't tell us again that he was going reindeer hunting,” while “anisaxtuxtyfkagatapixnakakjagaka” means “I happened to want to make him walk and fetch snow”. 13)

Sign language

Learning sign language is a challenge for your brain as it learns a completely new skill. A couple of practical aspects are worth noting: imagine being able to communicate without problems with someone across the street, or at a crowded, noisy concert, or even with a full mouth! Mastering sign language is a privilege: think how many people, not counting the deaf-mute, can sign? 14)

Quechua language

usually called Runasimi (“people's language”) in Quechua, is a native family language spoken by the Ketchuan peoples living mainly in the Peruvian Andes. Derived from a common ancestral language, it is the most widely spoken family of pre-Columbian languages of the Americas, with some 8-10 million speakers in 2004. About 25% (7.7 million) of Peruvians speak Quechuan. It is probably best known as the main language family of the Inca Empire. The Spanish encouraged its use until the Peruvian struggle for independence in the 1880s. As a result, variants of Ketchua are still widely spoken, being the co-official language of many regions and the second most spoken language family in Peru. 15)

languages.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/10 02:04 by aga