The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Friday, April 15, 2011

Last two speakers of dying language refuse to speak to each other

A man of many language symbolsImage by Eyesplash viaFlickr
There are just two people in the world who can speak the language Ayapaneco fluently: Manuel Segovia, 75, and Isidro Velazquez, 69. They live 500 metres apart in the village of Ayapa in Mexico, and they refuse to speak to each other. No one is quite sure why they don't converse;  whether it is a deep buried grudge or a matter of simple dislike.

"They don't have a lot in common," said Daniel Suslak, a linguistic anthropologist from Indiana University. Suslak is involved with a project to produce a dictionary of Ayapaneco. Segovia, he says, can be "a little prickly" and Velazquez, who is "more stoic," rarely likes to leave his home, according to the Guardian.

Of the 68 different indigenous languages in Mexico, Ayapaneco is the one in the greatest danger of extinction. It has survived Spanish conquest, wars, revolutions, famines and floods and in now it appears it will face extinction as the last two speakers sit silently within spitting distance of each other.

Read more in the Guardian. 


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