Today is post F in the A to Z of endangered languages series… and for that, we have the language Foau.


First of all, Foau is a language for which I have found very little by the way of internet documentation (at least, in English – French and Indonesian speakers may have more luck!). It is a language spoken in Indonesia, which as of 2010 had, according to Ethnologue, 350 speakers. Therefore, it is classified as an endangered or threatened language.

What I found interesting about Foau, even with the small amount of information I had to hand, is that the number of speakers seems to have increased in the last forty or so years. The Endangered Languages Project says that in 1975 there were around 230 speakers of the language; but Ethnologue (SIL International) puts that figure at 350 in 2010. It’s certainly a heartening statistic; in terms of numbers, that isn’t a dramatic increase, but it would appear that the ethnic population is quite small, meaning that every new speaker means a much higher change the status of this language.

Sources/Further Reading

Babelverse Linguistics Knowledgebase: Foau Language
Endangered Languages Project: Foau
Wikipedia: Foau language
Glottlog 2.3: Foau
Ethnologue: Foau
Verbix: Where on earth do they speak Foau? Foau
Wiktionnaire: Catégorie – Foau (in French)

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