Lesser-Known Languages

Dec 27, 2022

Each month, I dive deep into one language that deserves to be more well-known. I talk about the history and culture associated with the language and go nerdy with the language’s basic grammar so you can start learning them if you want to!

On top of this, each week I write a similar but less deep version to cover even more languages!

This is a directory of both, so you can go straight to those you’re interested in!

(Very) Deep Dives:

  1. Ainu — The original "Japanese" of Japan

  1. Papiamento / Papiamentu — Satisfying a 10-year-old itch

  2. Sinhalese — The most beautiful script I’ve seen

    1. Part 1: History and Culture

    2. Part 2: Language

  3. Taiwanese Hokkien / Tâi-Gí — The dialect turned national language

    1. Part 1: History and Culture

    2. Part 2: Language

  4. Sranan TongoA curious thriving Dutch-English Creole

  5. Jeju Language / Jejueo The only remaining Korean Language most Koreans don’t understand

  6. Tigrinya — A beautiful Semitic language found in Africa’s North Korea.

  7. Tayo Creole — A Creole language growing on an island with 30 languages.

  8. Romansh — A national Romance language split into different versions of itself, fighting for survival

  9. Aymara — A language all about its suffixes, with 3 ways to mean "we"

  10. Alutiiq — A magnificent Eskimo language from the confines of Alaska.

  11. Rapa Nui — The little-known language of Easter Island, home of the Moai statues

  12. Bugis — A language not using its own beautiful script

Shorter Weeklies

The languages are divided by area of the world where they are spoken (if applicable), not by language family.

  • Languages in Asia:

    1. Ainu — A (much) shorter version of the deep dive

    2. Sinhalese — A (much) shorter version of the deep dive

    3. Khmu - ພາສຂະມຸ — A Language crossing borders in South East Asia

    4. Tetum/Tetun — The official language that was used by a minority

    5. Taiwanese Hokkien/Tâi-Gí — A (much) shorter version of its deep dive

    6. Jejueo / Jeju Language — A (much) shorter version of its deep dive

    7. Lepcha / Róng ríng - The only language in the Himalayas with its own script

    8. Kankanaey - A language with one suffix having over 30 different uses

    9. Eastern Cham - One of the first descendants of the Brahmi Script

  • Languages in Europe

    1. Euskara/Basque — The language isolate that stood against invaders

    2. Bavarian — The germanic language Germans don't get

    3. Occitan — A mysterious well-known yet forgotten language in France

    4. Piemontèis — A language fighting to get proper recognition in Italy

    5. Parlanjhe / Poitevin-Saintongeais — A curious language struggling to survive

    6. Monégasque - The dialect that became a country's official language

    7. Plautdietsch - A German language spoken by small communities around the world

  • Creole languages

    1. Papiamento/Papiamentu — A (much) shorter version of the deep dive

    2. Sranan Tongo — A (much) shorter version of the deep dive

    3. Seychellois Creole — A language that got rid of genders with articles

    4. Ambon Malay - A curious Malay-based Creole

    5. Juba Arabic - An Arabic Creole with fixed plurals

    6. Bislama - An English-based Creole with an Oceanic pronominal system

    7. Tok Pisin - An English-based Creole thriving in the middle of 800 languages

  • Languages in Oceania

    1. Rotokas — The smallest alphabet in the world

    2. Maisin (Maisan) - A curious Oceanic language

    3. Nanngu / Engdewu - A language with two exotic ways to count

    4. Tok Pisin - An English-based Creole thriving in the middle of 800 languages

  • Languages in Africa

    1. Kirundi/Rundi — What are Bantu languages and Meeussen's Rule?

    2. Dholuo — A different and fascinating way to conjugate verbs

    3. KhoeKhoe — A Khoe language with 20 click sounds

    4. Supyire — A language with the funniest way to count

  • Languages in Latin America

    1. K’iche’ — The most spoken Mayan language in Guatemala

    2. Garifuna - The language that resisted becoming a Creole

    3. Ch'ol - One of the closest relatives of the Classic Maya language

    4. Mapudungun - A magnificent highly polysynthetic language isolate

  • Languages in North America

    1. Zuni - A curious language isolate found in New Mexico

    2. Yurok - A true example of language revitalization

    3. Kalaallisut - A beautiful language with a 153-letter long word

  • Constructed languages (conlangs)

    1. Toki Pona — The Language of Good

    2. Na’vi — The intrinsic language constructed for Avatar

    3. Belter Creole — The Extraplanetary Creole Language

    4. Sindarin — One of the many Lord of the Rings’ conlangs

    5. Interlingua — The auxlang Europeans can understand without studying

    6. Interslavic — The auxlang Slavics can understand without studying

    7. Pandunia — The auxlang made to represent the entire world

    8. Manmino - An incredible East-Asian auxlang