It’s Saturday! And that means that today’s letter is H, for the language Huilliche.

Huilliche is a language spoken by around 2,000 people in Chile, South America. Despite having what would seem – in comparison to the other languages we have looked at – quite a large number speakers (which UNESCO notes is an estimate, as the people are quite dispersed – a team from National Geographic argue that the number of speakers is much lower than that), the language is still classed as being critically endangered. This is likely due to the dispersal of the people who speak the language, as well as the prevalence of Spanish in the country.

While there are major concerns for the future of Huilliche, it is hoped that young people might be more inclined to use the language, although most, if not all, of them speak Spanish. One example of this can be seen in the video above, with the two young men performing hip hop in a mixture of Spanish and Huilliche. If the young Huilliche people begin to use their language more often, then it may well survive into the future.

Sources/Further Reading

Wikipedia: Huilliche language
Enduring Voices: South America (YouTube playlist – some videos are in Spanish)
The Economist: Huilliche hip-hop and more
National Geographic: Enduring Voices Project – Chile Expedition
Ethnologue: Huilliche
Land of winds: Huilliche

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