According to the site Ethnologe, Brazil has 236 languages, 20 of them are dead languages. Of the remaining 216 languages, 91 face the risk of extinction. Few of these languages have been documented, and in some languages, the speakers are not completely fluent. With the dispersion of the indigenous population and the lack of an educational program to keep and document these languages, most of these threatened languages will be soon dead. Today, I will show 10 languages that are not only endangered, but are considered almost extinct.
Amahuaca language is spoken by the Amahuaca ethnic group that lives in the Peruvian Amazon. The language has around 220 speakers in Brazil and 130 in Peru and it has a written version (Latin alphabet). There are dictionaries and a small documentation. To learn more about the language, go to Native Languages.
To hear a bit of the language, see the video below:
Anambé is spoken by the indigenous ethnic group of the same name, who lives in northern Pará. The group has about 130 individuals. In the 80s, all the inhabitants of the tribe over forty years spoke Anambé and almost all between 20 and 30 tears could understand. Today, there are only six people who speak the language fluently.
The ethnicity has about 40 individuals and is nomadic. About 25 are isolated and have never had contact with non-Indians. The ethnic group is divided between the states of Goiás and Tocantins for over 100 years, so the language has two dialects. The language is from the Tupi-Guarani family.
In this short documentary, you can hear a bit of the language.
The Cafundó language is a language anti-creole used in Cafundó neighborhood in the city of Salto de Pirapora. The language uses the structure of the Portuguese, but has a distinct vocabulary of Bantu origin. The language is considered secret by the speakers and is only used when they do not want someone to understand what is being said. Currently, the language has about 40 speakers. To learn more about the language, read this article and watch in the video below, where the language is spoken.
The Kanoe is an isolated language (does not belong to any language family) spoken by seven people. The ethnic group has around 282 individuals, distributed in two communities in the Amazon. A small language documentation has been made and can be read here.
In the video below, you can hear a song sung in the language:
The Shanenawa language belongs to the Pano family and is spoken by eight people. The tribe Shanenawa lives in the Amazon and according to the latest census has 411 individuals. The language was banned for a long time when the Indians worked in rubber plantations in Acre. Today, there is an effort from the elderly who speaks fluent Shanenawa to pass their knowledge to the new generation.
The Oro Win people live in Rondônia, near the border with Bolivia and consists of only 73 people. The main language of the population is Portuguese. In 2010, only six people spoke the Oro Win language, all with more than fifty years old. Other members of the ethnic group understand the language partially. Today, there is a conscious effort to keep the language alive. In this page, you can listen to some of the language.
The Kwazá language is another isolated language of the state of Rondônia. The ethnic group is composed of 40 people. Half the population is trilingual (speak Kwazá, Aikanã and Portuguese), and a small part is bilingual (Kwazá and Portuguese). Few individuals speak only Kwazá. According to the Ethnologe site, only seven people speak the language fluent and currently, there is no effort to preserve the language.
The guató people live in the Pantanal region of Brazil and has about 350 members, but guató language has only five fluent speakers. In recent years, efforts were made to maintain the language alive and document it. Studies show that Guató language is complex, tonal and agglutinant.
The Puruborá language is one of the languages that are closer to being extinct. Today, there are only two elderly people who speak the language, but not fluently. Because of this, a project was undertaken to document the language before it disappears. Watch a video about the language: