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Africa’s extinct languages that should never be erased from history

June 15, 2018 at 10:01 am | History

Nduta Waweru

Nduta Waweru | Contributor

June 15, 2018 at 10:01 am | History

The El Molo people of Kenya. El Molo language became extinct in 1974. Photo: Daily Mail

As worlds evolve, some things disappear along the way. The same is the situation in Africa.

Over time and due to various reasons, Africa has lost some of its vital natural resources and entities.  The recent deaths of Africa’s oldest baobab trees have forced the tree to be reclassified as endangered.

Many others have suffered similar if not worse fates.

One of Africa’s resources that we must never erase from our history is language.

African languages are as diverse as the people themselves. However, according to Unesco, more than half of the world’s languages will be lost by the end of this century.

Endangered African languages according to the Endangered Languages Project

However, over the years, the continent has lost at least 52 known languages in a phenomena known as language death, which involves the loss of the last native speaker of a specific language; language extinction, which refers to when language is no longer known; linguicide, which is the death of a language due to natural or political reasons; and glottophagy, which happens when a smaller language is absorbed in or replaced by a major language.

Below are Africa’s extinct languages.

Country Language
Algeria Numidian
Angola Kwadi
Cameroon Duli

Gey

Nagumi

Yeni

Chad Horo

Muskum

Democratic Republic of the Congo Ngbee
Egypt Ancient Egyptian

Ancient Nubian

Coptic

Eritrea Geez
Ethiopia Gafat

Geez

Mesmes

Weyto

Guinea Baga Kaloum

Baga Sobané

Ivory Coast Esuma
Kenya Elmolo

Kore

Omotik

Madagascar Vazimba
Nigeria Ajawa

Auyokawa

Basa-Gumna

Gamo-Ningi

Kpati

Kubi

Mawa

Teshenawa

South Africa ǁXegwi

ǀXam

Seroa

South Sudan Homa

Mittu

Togoyo

Sudan Ancient Nubian

Baygo

Berti

Birked

Gule

Meroitic

Torona

 

 

Tanzania Kw’adza

Ngasa

Tunisia African Romance

Mediterranean Lingua Franca

Punic

Sened

Vandalic

Uganda Nyang’i

Singa

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