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).
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