Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Languages spoken only as second languages.|
My psychology professor stated that of the 200+ languages spoken in the USA; 176 are living languages, “3 are second languages without mother tongue speakers” and 52 are extinct. When I asked her which three were second languages only, she didn’t know the answer and challenged me to find out. I’ve spent the past day and a half searching the web and I’m still stumped. Please help.
Probably the best data would be the U.S. Census, however I suspect the "second
languages without mother tongues" are liturgical language like Ecclesiastical Latin
(Catholic Church). They are used in religious services and some people can converse
/write with them, but there are really no native speakers
Other liturgical languages include Coptic, Sanskrit and archaic forms of other various
languages. Wikipedia has a list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_language. Some
languages may be used in services only, but others may be more widely used by
Unfortunately, there are some Native American languages which are falling into this
class. Many languages have died out, meaning there are few or no active native
speakers. However, many communities are trying to revive their languages but a few
may be revived as liturgical languages (i.e. they are used in certain ceremonies).
Another class could be artificial languages like Klingon. Esperanto used to be one such
language, but there are parents who are raising their children in Esperanto because its
the common family language.
|Reply From:||Elizabeth J Pyatt click here to access email|