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On December 29, 2003, Marja Sergina died. Marja was the last speaker of the Akkala Sami language. The people who spoke Akkala Sami lived in villages on the icy Kola Peninsula in eastern Russia.
 
Akkala Sami is now extinct, even though a few people have some understanding of the language. Many, many more languages are endangered. This means few people can speak them fluently. Scientists are working to preserve these endangered languages because each language has a unique understanding of culture, history, and the environment.
 
Some endangered languages include Huamelultec (spoken by people in southern Mexico), Zaramo (spoken by people in a region surrounding Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), Pukapuka (spoken by people on the Pukapuka Atoll in the Cook Islands of Oceania), Yagan (spoken by people indigenous to Tierra del Fuego, South America), and Cornish (spoken by people indigenous to the county of Cornwall, England).
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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