List of extinct languages

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Extinct languages are historical languages whose speakers have become extinct or whose speakers have switched to another language (have assimilated to another language community).

There are various reasons for the extinction of languages. Extinct languages ​​are to be differentiated from "dead" languages , the speakers of which are not extinct in the actual sense, but represent the historical forerunners of today's languages ​​(e.g. the speakers of Latin are not extinct, but have more and more vulgar Latin over the course of time changed until today's Romance languages emerged.)

A variety of languages ​​or language families died out after the colonization of America and Australia . Linguists estimate that of the hundreds of Australian languages spoken before European settlement, only 10-20 will survive. The situation is similar in America. Here, too, the majority of the languages ​​disappeared with the arrival of European conquerors, and were replaced by four European languages ​​( English , Spanish , Portuguese , French ).

Another area with a high number of endangered languages ​​is New Guinea . Due to the geographical isolation of individual tribes, the interior of the island had a very high language density. The majority of the approximately 1000 languages ​​are threatened with extinction.

A historical language displacement is assumed for Africa south of the Sahara . Here the Bantu languages ​​have often replaced older languages. In North Africa it was again Arabic that displaced the previous languages, including the important cultural language Coptic .

Italian languages

Romance languages

Iranian languages

Germanic languages

Celtic languages

Slavic languages

Baltic languages

Finno-Ugric languages

Samoyed languages



Old American languages

Turkic languages

Other extinct languages

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: extinct language  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Arabana in the Ethnologue