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On December 29, 2003, the last native speaker of Akkala Sami died. Akkala Sami was a language indigenous to the Kola Peninsula in Russia. Although there are others with some knowledge of the language, with the death of Marja Sergina, the Akkala Sami became extinct.
 
According to National Geographic’s Enduring Voices Project, by 2100, “more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain.” Examples of endangered languages include Huamelultec (indigenous to southern Mexico), Zaramo (indigenous to a region surrounding Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), Pukapuka (indigenous to the Pukapuka Atoll in the Cook Islands of Oceania), Yagan (indigenous to Tierra del Fuego, South America), and Cornish (indigenous to the county of Cornwall, England).
 
Organizations such as the Enduring Voices Project works to “preserve endangered languages by identifying language hotspots—the places on our planet with the most unique, poorly understood, or threatened indigenous languages—and documenting the languages and cultures within them.”
culture
Noun

learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

document
Verb

to keep track of.

endanger
Verb

to put at risk.

endangered language
Noun
language that is at risk of falling out of practical use as its speakers die or shift to speaking another language.
Enduring Voices Project
Noun

research project focused on studying, documenting, and preserving endangered languages.

environment
Noun

conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.

extinct
Adjective

no longer existing.

fluent
Adjective

able to speak, write, and understand a language.

identify
Verb

to recognize or establish the identity of something.

Adjective

characteristic to or of a specific place.

language
Noun

set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.

Noun

piece of land jutting into a body of water.

preserve
Verb

to maintain and keep safe from damage.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

Tierra del Fuego
Noun

group of islands at the southern tip of South America.

unique
Adjective

one of a kind.

Noun

small human settlement usually found in a rural setting.

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