As One Language Nears Extinction, the Struggle to Preserve Other Native Languages Continues
Gyani Maiyi Sen, a seventy-five-year-old woman, sits in Nepal as the only fluent speaker of Kusunda in the world. Sorry guys—GM Voices is known for its huge language offering (over 100!), but even we can’t help you with this one.
This unique language of Nepal is “moribund,” meaning no children are currently learning it, and when the last native speaker dies, the language will be considered “extinct.” Not only is Kusunda unique because it’s moribund, but the language is also an isolate, like Basque (which GM Voices does offer, by the way), meaning it’s unrelated to any other spoken language.
Languages all around the globe are dying rapidly as more and more people are embracing globalization and learning global languages instead of maintaining their native tongues. Keeping languages alive becomes like “survival of the fittest;” the more commonly-spoken languages dominate the less spoken, eventually causing language extinction.
It’s an interesting place to be in as a provider of recorded voice for multinational companies.We always advocate a localized voice experience that will connect with its audience. To that end, we feel like we do our part to preserve native languages. Perhaps our most obscure language to date is Alaskan Yupik, spoken by roughly 14,000 people. But what kind of company would cater to such a small market? Surely, that’s not a practical, cost-efficient endeavor. But when you’re the U.S. government and you have important messaging for native Eskimo and Aleut Americans, it’s a necessity.
GM Voices will continue to dedicate space in this blog for notable language and globalization news.