Last two speakers of dying language refuse to speak to each other

There are only two people who are familiar with the Ayapaneco language in Mexico.

Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquezto live less than a kilometre apart in Ayapa village in southern Mexico but according to the Daily Mail, they don’t get on.

Those close to the men aren’t sure what the conflict is about.

They’re the last two speakers of this remote language but they refuse to discuss how best to preserve their dying language.

The Ayapaneco language managed to survive the Spanish conquest however it has suffered due to compulsory Spanish education in Mexico. For several decades indigenous children were forbidden from speaking anything other than Spanish.

Since the 1970s, people started moving away which further diluted the knowledge base.

According to 75-year-old Mr Segovia, ‘When I was a boy everybody spoke it. It’s disappeared little by little and now I suppose it might die with me.’

Although he still speaks to his wife and son in his native tongue, they understand what he’s saying but they can’t speak back.

It is not believed that 69-year-old Mr Velazquez converses his native tongue at all any more.

Fortunately all is not lost. Daniel Suslak, an Indiana University linguistic anthropologist, is compiling a dictionary to record the existence of the language.

He spoke to both men about their language and found out they ‘don’t have much in common’. Apparently Mr Segovia is ‘a little prickly’ while Mr Velaquez prefers to stay at home and is ‘more stoic’.

It is believed there are 6,000 languages in the world and of those around half are expected to disappear over the next century.

via Last two speakers of dying language refuse to speak to each other – Yahoo!7.

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