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).
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry culture Noun
learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.
to keep track of.
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.
conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.
no longer existing.
able to speak, write, and understand a language.
to recognize or establish the identity of something.
characteristic to or of a specific place.
Encyclopedic Entry: indigenous language Noun
set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.
piece of land jutting into a body of water.
Encyclopedic Entry: peninsula preserve Verb
to maintain and keep safe from damage.
any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.
Encyclopedic Entry: region Tierra del Fuego Noun
group of islands at the southern tip of South America.
one of a kind.
small human settlement usually found in a rural setting.
Encyclopedic Entry: village