Last Two Fluent Speakers of Dying Language Refuse To Speak To Each Other

AyapanecoJo Tuckman writes in the Guardian:

The language of Ayapaneco has been spoken in the land now known as Mexico for centuries. It has survived the Spanish conquest, seen off wars, revolutions, famines and floods. But now, like so many other indigenous languages, it’s at risk of extinction.

There are just two people left who can speak it fluently – but they refuse to talk to each other. Manuel Segovia, 75, and Isidro Velazquez, 69, live 500 metres apart in the village of Ayapa in the tropical lowlands of the southern state of Tabasco. It is not clear whether there is a long-buried argument behind their mutual avoidance, but people who know them say they have never really enjoyed each other’s company.

“They don’t have a lot in common,” says Daniel Suslak, a linguistic anthropologist from Indiana University, who 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.

The dictionary is part of a race against time to revitalise the language before it is definitively too late. “When I was a boy everybody spoke it,” Segovia told the Guardian by phone. “It’s disappeared little by little, and now I suppose it might die with me.”

Read More: Guardian

, , , ,

  • Tuna Ghost

    Although languages disappearing is a symptom of cultures dying and fading from history, and is thus a tragedy, I think the comedy of this situation makes this a win.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Although languages disappearing is a symptom of cultures dying and fading from history, and is thus a tragedy, I think the comedy of this situation makes this a win.

    • Malkiyahu

      I don’t see much tragedy in cultures dying and fading from history. Happens all the time, always has. Why go to so much trouble to save a language that clearly nobody wants to speak?

  • http://profiles.google.com/aljndrsp Alejandro Espinosa

    Lol

    La terquedad de dos personas basta para destruir un idioma

  • http://profiles.google.com/aljndrsp Alejandro Espinosa

    Lol

    La terquedad de dos personas basta para destruir un idioma

  • Malkiyahu

    I don’t see much tragedy in cultures dying and fading from history. Happens all the time, always has. Why go to so much trouble to save a language that clearly nobody wants to speak?

  • EAGD

    Ha ha! One of them is a fake!

  • EAGD

    Ha ha! One of them is a fake!

  • http://twitter.com/thereluctantceo The Reluctant CEO

    who cares?

  • http://twitter.com/thereluctantceo The Reluctant CEO

    who cares?