Here it is, the final post in my A to Z of Endangered Languages series! So, for the letter Z, I’m going to give you a little information about the Zo’é language.

(Video may be NSFW)

The Zo’é language is spoken by the Zo’é people, an indigenous group who live in Brazil. Their ethnic population ranges between 150-180 people, and it would appear that all of these people speak the language fluently.

The danger lies in the fact that up until a few decades ago, the Zo’é people were entirely isolated. Since then, they have come into contact with other people who live in Brazil, which could in the future lead to the detriment and loss of their language. Population number is not always used as a reliable factor in determining language loss (due to wild variations in population size; a language with 200,000 speakers in China, for example, would be much closer to extinction than its equivalent in a small European country), but combined with the fact that there is no written variation of Zo’é and Brazilian Portuguese is spoken by 187,000,000 people, as soon as contact between the Zo’é people and various outsiders deepens, it is likely that their language will suffer, and eventually, die out.

Sources/Further Reading

Ethnologue: Zo’é
Wikipedia: Zo’é language
Endangered Languages Project: Zo’é
Povos Indígenas no Brasil: Zo’é


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