The Suicide (!?!?) of a Language

If you read the last article of this series The Death of a(nother) Language, you may be wondering what this is about. Suicide? Yeah…suicide!

The story is: the last 2 people who speak the endangered language called Ayapaneco are deliberately killing their own language! They don’t want  to talk to each other in order to maintain their language and culture at all costs. No, they’re doing the complete opposite.

I didn’t get sad as I got when I read the other article. This one I laughed. How come the human will can be so hard to bend when it’s set to do something? Man…you know, we elves have our difficulties to forgive (mainly those who killed our own….YES, Fëanor I’m talking to you!)…but our culture is #1 thing and it comes ahead of any individual interest. Anyway..read the article and you’ll get a clearer picture of what’s going on in Mexico. And it’s as weird as it sounds. That’s something you don’t see everyday!

The survival of an endangered language may depend on two people — and all they want to do is ignore each other.

Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez, the last speakers of a language called Ayapaneco, live less than half a mile away from each other in Ayapa, Mexico. But no matter how precious the cultural implications of keeping their language alive are, they are not going to speak to each other.

The Guardian notes that, “It is not clear whether there is a long-buried argument behind their mutual avoidance, but people who know them say they have never really enjoyed each other’s company.”

Ayapaneco is one of many dozens of indigenous languages remaining in Mexico. Perhaps the most extreme case, it managed to survive the Spanish conquest in Mexico. Sixty-eight native languages are still in use today, although a handful are on the verge of extinction.

Regardless, linguists are still attempting to preserve the language despite the lack of communication between the last two fluent speakers, who no longer converse with anyone regularly in their native tongue. When Segovia, 75, and Velazquez, 65, both die, their language will pass away with them.

Still, Daniel Suslak, a linguistic anthropologist, sums up their relationship succinctly: “They don’t have a lot in common.”

Bold by Erunno

Article by Erica Ho

Taken from here

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2 Comments

Filed under Linguistics

2 responses to “The Suicide (!?!?) of a Language

  1. Oh… Sounds sorrowful.
    Here in Latvia we also have an endangered language – it’s called Livonian and it has something about less than 30 native speakers. 😦

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