Big concern there is the dwindling number of scientists, scholars and elders fighting to preserve the region’s lifestyle. The numbers who soak up and use the many languages of the region are in steady decline, despite the vigorous support of elders and one-on-one work in community, even in kindergarten atmospheres.
One person, a failing 74-year-old, is the last person alive speaking one of the 10 languages> That’s Omerdoc, the language of his birth.
Nevertheless, it’s not an anomaly when one considers our whole world functions in 6,000 languages, and many of them are fading fast. It’s estimated one language is lost every two weeks, despite the scientific efforts, scholarship, education, and some government support.
Those living in these language oases, know from experience when a word is lost it is gone forever. Australia was once home to 500 languages, a feature of its nomadic populace. Now there are 300 or less.
Photo credit: Chris Lofqvist / cc