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10 Languages You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

When faced with the question of how many languages there are currently spoken in the world, most people will guess a mere few hundred, maybe up to a thousand. However, the Ethnologue lists nearly 7,000 languages (although this number is flexible due to the often difficult task of differentiating between a language and a dialect – it is not often clear where the line is drawn. Furthermore, a language becomes extinct approximately every two weeks). Here are 10 languages that are (or were) significant in some way that are not very well-known by the general public.

10

Chamicuro

Chamicuro-300X190

Chamicuro is such a rare language that it has only eight native speakers living today! It is an official language in Peru (where the remaining Chamicuro people – who number between 10 and 20) live. The only speakers of the language are adults and their children speak only Spanish. Despite this, there is a dictionary for the language. At this point in time there is little hope that the language will survive into the future.

9

Basque

Paisvasco1

Spoken along the border of France and Spain by over 600,000 people, Basque is puzzling to linguists because it is a language isolate (that is, it appears to have no living relatives) surrounded by Indo-European (IE) languages. Some conclude that it is the last surviving language of a nearly extinct language family that was native to the area before the Indo-European languages were transported there. The language’s writing system is Latin based.


8

Frisian

Wolkowski 195 Frisian

I challenge you to ask people which language they think is most closely related to English. The answers will probably vary by region, with many Americans probably suggesting Spanish since it is the second language of the U.S. with obvious similarities to English. Others may say German, since English is, after all, part of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family. What you wouldn’t expect is someone to say “Frisian” for the main reason that not many people in English-speaking countries know about its existence. But it is in fact the closest living relative of the English language (unless you count Scots, which many do, but many consider it to be a dialect of English). Frisian and English are both West Germanic languages (as are Yiddish and standard German).

Speakers of Frisian are in fact Dutch people living in the Netherlands and Germany. While mutually unintelligible, samples of Frisian text will show the reader that they do indeed look/sound very similar, such as in the phrase “Brea, bûter en griene tsiis is goes Ingelsk en goes Frysk” (in English, “Rye bread, butter and green cheese is good English and good Fries”).

7

Miao languages

Pollardmiao Cons

The Miao people are an ethnic minority group in China, and in fact speak a variety of languages which are known to the Miao people as Miao but are also called the Hmongic languages. The Hmongic languages are of the Hmongic branch of the Hmong-Mien language family. These languages are completely unrelated to other Chinese languages such as Cantonese and Mandarin. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the language is the writing systems used. Traditionally orthographically represented by different renderings of the Chinese writing system, the Pollard script (pictured) was fabricated specifically for the Miao languages, which was loosely based on the Latin alphabet. Today, most Miao speakers write using the standard Latin alphabet.

6

Faroese

2192259-Sign Written In Faroese Faroe Islands

A North Germanic (Scandinavian) language closely related to Icelandic, Faroese is spoken by the people on the Faroe islands (Denmark). Faroese and Icelandic are the only two members of the West Scandinavian branch of the North Germanic branch of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family (so it looks like this, IE > Germanic > North Germanic > West Scandinavian > Icelandic/Faroese). Curiously, despite that the Faroe Islands are governed by Denmark, Danish is a member of the East Scandinavian branch, being more closely related to Swedish.

Spoken Icelandic and Faroese are not mutually intelligible but are very similar, yet Faroese gets the short end of the stick because it only has some 45,000 speakers (compared with the 230,000+ speakers of Icelandic). Both languages are well known for being very conservative and it is often stated that speakers of the two languages can easily read Old Norse documents.

5

Sarsi

Tepee-Pictures-1

Also known as Sarcee, this language is interesting to me because it is spoken by the Tsuu T’ina tribe of Native Americans whose reserve is adjacent to my city. It’s interesting how far languages can travel and develop into new languages, because although the Tsuu T’ina people live in southern Canada, the Sarsi language is in fact related to the Navajo language spoken by Native Americans in the southern U.S. Both languages are of the Athabaskan branch of the Na-Dene language family, Navajo belonging to the Apachean branch of the Athabaskan branch (or, more specifically, to the Western Apache-Navajo branch of the Navajo-Apache branch of the Apachean branch of the Athabaskan branch) while Sarsi belongs to the Canadian branch (Athabaskan splits into many different branches, of which Canadian and Apachean are two).

Sarsi only has 50 speakers left according to the Ethnologue, which means it will die out soon. Most speakers are old and very few children are acquiring it as their first language. No writing system is mentioned on either the Ethnologue or Wikipedia page for the language, which is consistent with the fact that Aboriginal culture and history is transmitted orally and not written down.


4

Tok Pisin

Tokpisin

Despite its small size, the islands that make up Papua New Guinea are very dense linguistically speaking, with over 800 languages being spoken and making it the most linguistically diverse place in the world. Of these languages, only three are recognized as official state languages with Tok Pisin, an English-based creole, being one of them. With phrases such as “gras bilong few” (grass belonging to the face, or “beard”) it sounds almost childish to English speakers, yet it is spoken by most of the people, including those that speak the other minority languages.

One particularly interesting aspect of the language is the diverse set of personal pronouns. Although the creole is based on English, it has a more complex set of personal pronouns. While English only differentiates between 1st, 2nd and 3rd person in either the singular or the plural, Tok Pisin has the categories of 1st person exclusive, 1st person inclusive, 2nd, and 3rd person, which can in turn be expressed as singular, dual, trial, or plural. 1st person exclusive dual is “mitupela” (that person and I), 1st person inclusive trial is “yumitripela” (both of you and I), 2nd person singular “yu” (you), 3rd person plural “ol” (those four, five, etc.), and so on.

3

Gothic

Vulcanius

This may be an exception to the title of this list, since everyone is familiar with he word gothic. But most people are familiar with the word when it is referring to a style of dress or architecture. The Gothic language was one of the languages of the East Germanic branch of the Indo-European family. Not only is the Gothic language now extinct, but the whole East Germanic branch itself as well (which also included the exotic sounding languages Burgundian and Vandalic). Gothic had its own writing system which looks like a combination of Greek and Latin letters. It is the earliest Germanic language which has enough written records in order to be accurately attested, with the Bible being translated into the language in the 6th century.


2

Shona

Sna

The Niger-Congo language family contains more languages than any other family with approximately 1,500. The bulk of these languages are concentrated in the Volta-Congo branch, about half of which belong to the Narrow Bantu branch. Such a large number of languages concentrated in such a small area has led many linguists to believe that this is where human language originated, as much time would have allowed the languages to spread out and change in isolated pockets in the area.

Most people have heard of Swahili, which is the language with the greatest number of speakers in the Narrow Bantu branch (and indeed the most widely-spoken language in the whole Niger-Congo family) but most speakers of Swahili speak it as a second language. Fewer people are aware of the Narrow Bantu language which has the most number of native speakers, Shona, with over 11 million native speakers.

1

British

Curse-Tablets

I am not writing of the variety of English spoken by people living in Great Britain, but rather the Celtic language spoken by the Brythonic people, those that lived in Great Britain before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. After the arrival of the aforementioned peoples, the British language began to fragment into the languages of Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Cumbric. A sample sentence is “Adixoui Deuina Deieda Andagin Uindiorix cuamenai” which means “May I, Windiorix for/at Cuamena defeat the worthless woman, oh divine Deieda.”



  • Zack

    Pretty good list…

    • Yoochun

      is it just me or do people reply do the first comment so their comment will be on too and be seen?

      • Sister Morphine

        it’s just you ;)

    • Flippant

      fuc.k you zach

  • Lurker

    Nice list.

  • Arkon

    At least is less controversial than the previous list..

    • Will Trame

      Right on. It seems that nature loves a controversy. As of late, the lists dealing with hot topics such as politics or ones painting an acidic critique of countries such as America and England garner the greatest number of heated comments while an excellent list about artisan crafts a few days ago didn’t even garner 50 comments.

      • Xyroze

        “as of late”?

        I was going to say you must be new here, but then I stopped to consider, At what point in the history of civilization have those topics not been an invitation for controversy in any conversation? And you forgot religion.

        • Will Trame

          Actually I have been opining on this site since February 2010. You’re right; I did omit religion. Then there are the lists dealing with esoteric phenomena and music which also usually result in over 100 comments. And, speaking of music, RIP Jon Lord (Deep Purple).

  • With regard to the Chamicuro language. If there’s a dictionary in existance, why is there “little hope that the language will survive into the future?” Patrick, were you referring to the ability of the “native” people to vocalise the language? It’s an interesting list and since if it’s got questions being asked, it’s educational as well.

    • souljacker

      a dictionary doesn’t give you all the information needed to learn a language. without any speakers and little written material it will be lost, the dictionary becoming a curious reference tool. :-(

      • aericanwizard

        Agreed. I challenge anyone to learn a language only by consulting a dictionary. While I imagine it is possible, without further resources, most particularly native speakers, that have a feeling of how a language “should” sound, it would be very hard to learn (Latin and Greek, of course are odd examples, as we have plenty of written references, as well as known descendant languages, to guide us).

    • diablo135

      Isn’t there a language where there are only two peoplee left who speak it? If I remember correctly, they are related but don’t like each other so they won’t help teach others the language.

    • Patrick Napoleon

      i guess listverse played with my list because that language wasn’t one i had in my original list lol, i guess they added it.

      • Regardless of that, it’s an interesting list, was another language deleted in order to put in the Chamicuro entry?

  • cor3y da don

    This list was BORNING

    • skeeter1971

      I hate borning things.

    • fsawvgba

      GOD MY LIFE IS SOOOO BORNING

    • Afjksfh

      New word for morning wood right there.

  • Thom Payne

    Actually, I’ve heard of most of these. Here’s a neat clip for those now curious about Frisian. Eddie Izzard goes to Friesland and — using only Old English — tries to buy a brown cow from a local farmer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeC1yAaWG34

    • ni99a

      So that gibberish spoken by the younger man is what I would hear if I were to live in the Shakespeare era?

      • coocoocuchoo

        Shakespear is middle english, if you were to live in the Shakespearian era you would hear people talk like Shakespeare’s plays obviously. Old English is pretty much illegible, middle enlglish is relatively easy to understand.

        • Sister Morphine

          Beowulf is in Old English. I read it as a child (my dad was an English Lit professor) It is obviously readable. I also studied it in high school and college. Same with the Old English poem the Wanderer.

          • Sister Morphine

            yeah nevermind. i tried to read it again, although i can pick out word i would not actually call it readable. my dad can read it and write it, normal people can’t.

          • coocoocuchoo

            No, Beowulf in its original Old English form is completely illegible to an English-speaker who has not studied the language, except for the odd word e.g. ‘Beowulfe’ or ‘beforan’. unless you had alot of help from your father i hazard a guess that you read these poems in a translated form.

          • Sister Morphine

            yes i already replied to my earlier comment.

          • coocoocuchoo

            Sorry, your comment didnt appear until i had sent mine!

          • Sister Morphine

            oh! and i should have replied to your comment again…instead of my own. this is not livejournal.

        • Will Trame

          I’m not so sure about Middle English being easy to understand but it definitely has a goofy rhythm to it when recited aloud. I recall that I had to memorize and recite the opening to Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in Middle English when I studied British lit in high school. As noted, it had such a weird pattern to it that I found myself reciting the damn thing in the shower instead of having the melody line to Caravan’s “Nine Feet Underground” running through me head. My brother also learned and recited it as well. Needless to say it drove me father nuts constantly hearing it.

      • Kristov

        Neither Shakespeare nor his contemporaries spoke Old English. Not even middle English. Shakespeare spoke a form of Early Modern English, very different from true Old English.

        • SfHuIcTk

          Didn’t he also use alot of slang for his time? I thought i heard that somewhere

    • Simon

      Thanks!

  • Will Trame

    You were right…I haven’t heard of any of these languages. An intriguing read.

  • Vince

    The Aborigines in the area of Western Australia that I grew up in spoke Wongai (Wongatha tribe). It’s interesting to know that other tribes in close proximity, speaking a whole other dialect, can’t stand each other. Some words I recall include “waddi” (stick), “goona” (sh*t), “minga” (ant). I still use these in everyday conversation (“the mingas are coming in off the patio”) etc. There’s a place north of Kalgoorlie called Goongarrie, which translates to “sh*t hill”. It’s where the old outhouse pans were taken to be emptied out.

  • I miss lists about movies, moral dilemmas, music etc :'(

    • ni99a

      Its people like you that make Listverse sucks.

    • The Opinion

      I actually miss the list about fun facts.

    • Maggot

      moral dilemmas

      Ugh, no thanks. Those are my least favorite lists. How many times can you ponder what’s the lesser of two evils? The premise is always the same, with some ridiculously concocted story wrapped around it to add drama and cloud it with emotion. And then we get an endless stream of commenters thinking they are sooo clever because they found a loophole in the story to defeat the dilemma. Yay. Utterly pointless…

      • Ni99a

        Screw the commentators. Moral dilemmas are good thinking subject when you are in the toilet.

        How do you do the italics?

        • Maggot

          Moral dilemmas are good thinking subject

          That’s cool, I’m just saying – how many times can you think about the same thing? The subject is always the same, just worded differently by way of some sappy accompanying story:

          Would you harm or kill one or more people to save one or more other people?

          Sprinkling in emotion-triggering descriptions of the various people with some combination of: innocent strangers random children, your children, other loved ones, someone that has wronged you, etc., just creates artificial drama, a la “would you rather kill your beloved only child, or a roomful of your young nieces and nephews plus your wife and her lover and some guy that beat you up once?”

          If what you enjoy is trying to find a fault in the story so as to outwit the storyteller and bypass performing a moral self-examination, that’s fine, but then why not just wish for a list of logic puzzles instead?

          How do you do the italics?

          It’s just simple HTML tags. Frame the desired text with “i” and “/i”, but instead of where I typed quote marks there, use those left and right arrow brackets (the “greater-than” and “less-than” characters on the comma and period keyboard keys). You can also use a “b” instead of “i” if you want bold type. Go nuts.

  • greensmurf

    You any relation to that French guy? (to writer)

  • fallenangel

    I love language, and languages. This list was a real treat. Thank you. I am happy to say , I’ve known for quite some time of many of these evanescing tongues .

  • bustachong

    Is Basque really that obscure? It seems to me the Basque people pop up in the news enough to make it not uncommon, though unfortunately sometimes due to violent separatist actions in the region.

  • Basque appears to be closely related to Welsh. Migrations over the centuries back and forth from what is now Wales to northern Spain, or some such nonsense.

    • Ffiffisop

      No, there really is no visible similarity whatsoever. Perhaps you are thinking of the Welsh migrations to Patagonia, Argentina?
      However both Welsh and Basque speakers have been linked oin their efforts to preserve their laguage as a natively spoken language for future generations.

  • Ed

    Was British written on slices of ham? I’m a big fan of languages, and am English myself; I’ve heard of quite a few of these but never British. I’m intrigued to find out it existed, particularly if it was documented on cured pork!

  • Missy

    Very good list. My grandfather could speak fluent English, Cornish, Latin, Macedonian and Romani languages. I’ve never heard of Chamicuro. Quite an eye-opener. Thanx for the list.

    • Sister Morphine

      Fluent Latin?

      • Missy

        Dunno, I suppose so. Maybe he could’ve carried on a converse with Julius Caesar. Grandad was a professor of archaeology.

  • Do some research of your own other than use google or Wikipedia to make a list. Have you ever been to the north-east India? You can definity make dozen of top ten list related to the region. And you’ll atleast find dozens of nearly extinct languages.

    • poopy

      most of my research came from the ethnologue, thanks. maybe i should make a list of 10 websites you’ve probably never heard of.

  • Do some research of your own other than
    use google or Wikipedia to make a list.
    Have you ever been to the north-east
    India? You can definity make dozen of top
    ten list related to the region. And you’ll
    atleast find dozens of nearly extinct
    languages.

    • Truth-Monger

      Thanks for converting your previous statement of ignorance to stanza form. Being the poetry it is. Google/Wikipedia is the foundation of all modern research. Not every human is out in the tombs of the ancients with magnifying glasses and paint brushes. And if its already been done several times over, the foundings posted on the internet for public benefit, why would you reinvent the wheel. And just for an entertainment website. Get real you aimlessly cynical prick.

  • Sanpaku Eyes

    There are at least 26 different Native American language families with anywhere from one to thirty six languages belonging to that family. My nation’s language, Yoem Noki, the language of the Yaqui people being but one example. With the exception of some of the more well known tribes (Navajo, Apache, Cherokee eg) most of these languages are not well known outside of the communities where they are spoken or anthropological linguistics at universities. Some are tragically dying out while some are still going strong. Language is not merely a form of communication but a reflection of a culture’s rich heritage, and as such I hope that people will continue to preserve as many languages as possible.

  • Nigeria alone has over 510 living languages (dialects). There are even more undocumented languages in the world. One downside of globalisation is that more and more languages are becoming extinct.

  • Armin Tamzarian

    Which idiot has never heard of Gothic and Basque?

    Anyhow, Dutch is way closer to English than German and certainly than Spanish. They also view Frisian as a dialect spoken by stubborn farmers who need to enter te 21st century.

    Lastly, the difference between the Scandinavian languages is quite exaggerated here. Danish and Norwegian is virtually identical. Swedish is a little different, though I’ve heard Swedes describe the aforementioned languages as “Swedish with a speech impediment”. According to those same people, Icelandic is intelligble, as long as it’s spoken or written clear and slowly, a bit like English and Dutch. Seeing that Faroese is more related to Icelandic, I can imagine the two are more mutually intelligble than the listwriter said.

    • Ni99a

      I have never heard of Gothic and Basque. Why am I considered an idiot?

    • odaltyr

      You find Dutch and English mutually intelligible? I certainly don’t. English and Dutch just sound similar and have similar structure, otherwise I couldn’t possibly understand Dutch, even spoken slowly (except basic “my name is..” kind of sentences). Whereas as a French speaker I can read Italian and understand half of the text although I’ve never taken Italian classes. I’d say the same with Spanish but I may be biased since I’ve taken Spanish in school.

      Otherwise I agree, one must be particularly ignorant if he lives in the Western World and hasn’t ever heard of Gothic and Basque languages. I even want to add the other three European languages in this list.

      • Armin Tamzarian

        I don’t say it’s mutually intelligible. I’m just saying Dutch is way closer to English than German or Spanish. Dutch is somewhere midway between English and German, which should come as no surprise to anyone with a basic grasp of sociolinguistics and geography.

    • Patrick Napoleon

      i hadn’t heard of Basque and didn’t know that Gothic was a language until i took linguistic classes, so sorry for making you feel superior and giving you an excuse to call others idiots. but i hope you enjoyed the rest of the list =)

    • Steve

      As the list pointed out, at least with Gothic but I assume something similar with Basque its not so much that people have not heard of the words, rather they don’t associate them with a language. The list pointed out Architecture and fashion (or lack of it as the case may be) are what come to mind when one hears the word Gothic. People don’t associate it with a language. The same goes for Basque. I’m sure far more people are aware of the region but the idea that the region has its own language may not occur to them.

      I know I didn’t but then again I am not a cunning linguist.

    • An Icelantic person might be able to understand some written Faroese and vice versa, but the spoken language is very different. Also, there are many loan-words from Danish in both the languages, but the languages are essentially very different. Danish, Swedish and modern Norwegian are almost indentical though.

    • An Icelantic person might be able to understand some written Faroese and vice versa, but the languages (especially the spoken) are very different. Both of the languages use many Danish loan words as a heritage from the time when the countries were under danish rule.

      Also, on the note of the Scandinavian languages being similar: To some extent, yes. Danish, Swedish and modern Norse are very similar, but Faroese and Icelantic are only slighly similar despite the former being based on the latter. We also like to call our language the most indentical to that spoken by the vikings in the 9th century, since it shares many similarities with Old Norse.

    • An Icelantic person might be able to understand some written Faroese and vice versa, but the languages (especially the spoken) are very different. Both of the languages use many Danish loan words as a heritage from the time when the countries were under danish rule.

      Also, on the note of the Scandinavian languages being similar: To some extent, yes. Danish, Swedish and modern Norse are very similar, but Faroese and Icelantic are only slighly similar despite the former being based on the latter. We also like to call our language the most indentical to that spoken by the vikings in the 9th century, since it shares many similarities with Old Norse.

  • While I have heard of several of these languages, it’s still a good, fun list.

    • ni99a

      Ooooo…. are you not offended my Christian friend? Isn’t this list too blasphemous for your Christian brain….?

  • oouchan

    I\’ve heard of only 3 of these previously. The topic was interesting….too bad the part that bummed me out was the languages going extinct. That\’s just tragic. I\’ve always wanted to be able to speak ancient Egyptian. Not common, but it would be kinda fun at parties. :)

    Good list.

  • I’ve heard of 5 of 10

  • Rielle

    Tok pisin is a quite interesting creole. Learnt about it at uni from my lecturer who is one of the top experts in language preservation in the world.
    Great list, for once!

    • MangiPNG

      Tok Pisin em i wanpela gutpela tok tru, ya.

  • honkster7

    Is there any form of recording of theses languages going on ? maybe give the Chamicuro a reality show or something .

    • Sister Morphine

      put seven of them together in a house and record what happens. i miss the original real world :(

    • Missy

      Please, no more ‘reality’ crap!!
      The Shire is really BAD!!

  • Good list, but you forgot to mention that most North American Native languages are going extinct. I am Pottawatomii, and the youngest speaker of the language I have met, there are only about 1100 speakers of Pottawatomii. I also speak English, of course, Ojibwe, Odawa, Oji-Cree, and Cree.

  • Murphy’s Dog

    Its a fact that if the Norman Conquest hadnt happened, modern English would be very akin to Dutch.

  • bryt

    “May I, Windiorix for/at Cuamena defeat the worthless woman, oh divine Deieda”

    – For an example of a Brythonic sentence, that makes very little sense. But I’m guessing you’re not well-versed in pre-anglo-saxon Brytisch and will forgive your blunder.

  • joeyman

    Pretty good list my fellow calgarian! Funny, my friend just recently told me about Frisian, and now I’m reading this list!

  • Ivy

    There are also a surprising number of sign languages. In many secluded areas where there is little outside influence to the gene pool, deafness becomes extremely common. Often in these situations sign language will be as common as spoken language. An example of this is Martha’s Vineyard in the 1800s and early 1900s.

  • DocOc

    I live in Calgary as well and had no idea Sarcee Trail was named after a dying language.

    It would be great though if the Tsu Tina would move away. No money for the reserve to fix those disgustingly dirty and condemned houses they lived in by the reservoir but they somehow found $175 million to build that monster casino?

    • skin2win

      I like playing poker there.

      • skin2win

        Because of my awesome pokerness.

  • I had heard about most of these but overall a pretty good list. It’s too bad there were not some links to listen to the languages.

  • you might consider adding Arberesh; many have never heard of it, but it is spoken to this day in Southern Italy; i spoke it almost exclusively until i was 4-5; unfortunately, i lost most all of it.

    • i should have also added that it is really not a written language except in church; there are Latin letters used but very few people write or write it ; in Italy they write in Italian & everyone speaks Italian also.

  • coocoocuchoo

    Cumbric! very interesting that this language popped up as its from where i live (Cumbria). Although a dead language alot of old Cumbric words are still spoken here. heres 1-10 in Cumbric.

    Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera, Pimp, Sethera, Lethera, Hovera, Dovera, Dick.

  • Neel

    Again, this list, like all others on Listverse (BTW, Listverse is shown as a wrongly spelled word while typing this reply) presumes that Americas and Europe are all that are there to the inhabited earth. What about Asian languages? I am sure there are thousands of them, which are known to very few.

    • You mean like #7?

    • odaltyr

      There are two levels of criticism of the ethnocentrism on Listverse :

      -Too American

      -Too Western

      Well, while the site isn’t owned by an American, but by a New Zealander (I believe), he is thus a “Westerner” in the broad sense. It’s normal that the site focalizes more on the West. Deal with it.

    • Maggot

      this list…presumes that…

      The only thing that this list presumes is that you probably haven’t heard of these ten languages. It does not say that these are the only ten, and it specifically does not say or even imply that only languages from the Americas or Europe are worthy of inclusion.

      • poopy

        maybe Neel would be more satisfied if i created 10 languages from each continent, because clearly i’m being racist in using mostly european languages.

        • ParusMajor

          I’m also using mostly European languages (I consider English a European language.) I know just a little bit of Japanese and Korean, but otherwise I only know Swedish, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Finnish. And a few words of Estonian and Portuguese.

  • Incitatus

    Best list in a long time. I love languages, May I add: Silbo (a language spoken in the Canarian islands that consists entirely on Whistling) Gallician (a language spoken in northern Spain that has roots in both Iberian and Celtic languages) Quechua (an indigineous language form natives in Colombia) and of course Irish and Scottish Gaelic that were almost entirely wiped out or replaced with English…

  • odaltyr

    I’ve heard of at least half of those (the European ones) but interesting list anyway.

  • vijaytr

    And i thought telugu (my native tongue) had very few speakers in the world.

    • ParusMajor

      My native tongue is Swedish (in case you want to know) :D

  • AGD

    I hope no Frisian people see it they hate being called Dutch. It’s pretty much on par with calling Welsh people English.

  • cameo1107

    I’m listening to #7 (Hmong) right now, since my in-laws are home. :)

  • Kristov

    I’ve heard of all of these except for Chamicuro and Shona. It would have been interesting if you had included one of the Khoisan click languages of southern Africa.

  • AmyLondon

    Long-time Listverse reader, first time comment. Loved this list, always had an interest in strange languages. Anyway, keep up the good work Listverse; I’m sure there are more of the silent readers like me who never comment.

  • Steve

    All this time I thought Miao was the language spoken by cats.

    I was going to suggest the language spoken by teenagers today but then I realized that everyone has heard of the language they just have no idea what in the heck it is.

  • test

    test

    test test

    test test

    • Alex

      Test?

  • skin2win

    Are you from Calgary , Patrick? Medicine Hat, myself.

  • Steven

    I’ve heard of 6 of the 10 languages here. I’m either good with languages, or some of these really aren’t that obscure (I didn’t think Gothic, British or Basque were that unknown).

  • It was /is a good list. otherv languages could have been included, for example the gula language which derived from spanish, various african dialects, and early english and local native American languages. it’s spoken exclusively by residents of the sc and ga barrier islands.

  • ParusMajor

    I have heard of Basque and Faroese languages. :)

  • Brogue

    Awesome list!
    I know four people that speak Tok Pisin, and we’ve even studied it in lectures. It’s a really interesting language.
    I study Linguistics at University, but there were a few languages there I hadn’t heard of.
    I’ve been curious about Native American languages for a while. It seems sad to me that there isn’t more being done to revitalise them, as they are doing in other parts of the world…

  • 3 glorious pixels

    A grand total of three I haven’t heard of, better luck next time :P
    But that’s my fault, I ‘study’ linguistics very often [I read Wikipedia articles]

  • Bunrakku

    Well, this list is quite debatable. What is the difference between Language and Dialect? See, some entries in this list are somehow similar or branching out of the main language. Don’t you think?

  • elaine

    i speak shona!!!!!!

    • ParusMajor

      I speak Swedish, russian, italian and spanglish. And finnish :D And a bit of Japaknees. :D

  • ujmoldovia

    I am puzzled to how poeple cannot have heard of basque!

    • ParusMajor

      Indeed. I thought everybody and his mother knew about Basque.

  • Gothic even looks like it’s for…goths.

  • kellbell

    Cool list, congrats.

  • vanowensbody

    Great list

  • It wasn’t meant for you poop. I was telling that to the author. And please don’t talk about my website because its not for you.

  • Bunrakku

    Lemme clear some things up. Some of them are DIALECTS. Pretty sure of that. There are some distinctions per region that can be observed in most European languages. I hope someone clears this matter.

  • Ok here is a list of languages part of some you’ve never heard of..

    http://tinyurl.com/6vqnkym

  • shilpa

    Shona is actually the national language in Zimbabwe, widely spoken by all and taught in schools so I am not sure where you got that from

  • Iysokd Jons Maseev Neegakok

    I need my dick sucked!!!

  • Name

    The Mirandese language (autonym: mirandés or lhéngua mirandesa; Portuguese: mirandês or língua mirandesa) is a Romance language belonging to the Astur-Leonese linguistic group, sparsely spoken in a small area of northeastern Portugal, in the municipalities of Miranda do Douro, Mogadouro and Vimioso. The Portuguese Parliament granted it co-official recognition (along with the Portuguese language) for local matters on 17 September 1998 with the law 7/99 of 29 January 1999.

    Mirandese has a distinct phonology, morphology and syntax, and has been distinct at least since the formation of Portugal in the 12th century.[citation needed] It has its roots in the spoken Latin of the north of the Iberian Peninsula (Portuguese developed in the northwest).

    It is a descendant of the ancient Astur-Leonese language of northern Iberia, the last remnant of the ancient language of the Kingdom of León, and closely related to the modern Astur-Leonese languages in Spain. However, these amalgamations in the Spanish territory did not affect Mirandese, which preserves distinct linguistic differences in relation to both Portuguese and Spanish. It shares a great deal of lexicon with regional Portuguese dialects.

  • Gerhard

    I speak Afrikaans and i could read some of the Frisian so i dont know what that would be its some sort of prayer

  • Levz

    I’ve heard of and know about all the Germanic ones

  • theresa

    Very resourceful page. :)

  • Marc

    I know About Faroese !

    There’s this metal band from the Faroese Island, called Týr and they sing in Faroese. It’s pretty special to hear.

  • Hatiku

    There is no Brazilian Portuguese language. Portuguese is Portuguese whose oriign is from Portugal. What the brazilian speak are portuguese, but they have its own expressions that are not used in Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde, East Timor, Sao Tome and Prince and Guine. If you want a translation to PORTUGUESE I am very happy to do it.RegardsJoao Coelho

  • unknown zimbabwean

    Dude i have been addicted to this site with all its informative blogs, till i saw my language as number 2 on your list. you may want to check your facts again. its native to Zimbabwe and the dialects are in and around zimbabwe not Niger-Congo.

  • saintspoon

    Very interesting list! I really enjoyed it :)

    & I’m also from Calgary…. So thanks Patrick & way to represent!!