The Last Speakers

This video features clips from the documentary The Last Speakers, a documentary about endangered languages shown on PBS. These clips show people speaking endangered languages.

  1. The first clip shows Johhny Hill speaking Chemehuevi, a Native American language near extinction. His grandmother spoke the language to him as he was growing up and now he is one of the last speakers. The Chemehuevi mostly live in Arizona.
  2. The second clip is a story being told in Middle Chulym, a language that started to die out due to political reasons. In the 1940s, Joseph Stalin ordered Chulym children to attend boarding schools where instruction was in Russian. Chulym was regarded as a gutter language and the children stopped using it, for the most part.
  3. The third clip is Una Rooi, a woman speaking Nǀu, a language that nearly died out in South Africa. The language is one that can immediately be recognized for its clicking sounds. Rooi says, “If a person who speaks our language dies, our language also dies.”
  4. The final clip shows a group of young people singing in Hawaiian, a language that was largely displaced by English after Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1899 when the language was banned from schools. Efforts over the past few decades have been made to revitalize the language.

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