Every 14 days, another language falls silent forever. Linguists warn that in the next century, anywhere from 50-90% of all the languages in the world will be lost. While many of these languages are in developing countries, some are in Europe and even in the UK.
Before they disappear forever, let’s take a look at the 10 most endangered languages in Europe.
Endangered Languages in Europe: Cappadocian Greek
Number of native speakers: 2,800
Cappadocian Greek is spoken by the descendants of the Cappadocian Greeks who were forced to move from Turkey to Greece in the 1920s.
Cappadocian Greek evolved during the time of the Byzantine Empire. Like the rest of the empire, the people of Cappadocia, Turkey spoke Medieval Greek. However, in 1071, Byzantine forces lost the Battle of Mazikert, and the area around Cappadocia was taken over by Turkish speakers.
The Greek speakers kept their language, but it evolved separately from the rest of the Greek-speaking world and was heavily influenced by Turkish.
After the Cappadocian Greeks were moved back to Greece, most of them learned to speak standard Greek.
Fun fact: Scholars thought that the Cappadocian variant had died out in the 1960s. But in 2005, researchers from Ghent University and the University of Patras found around 2,800 Greeks of Cappadocian descent who still spoke the language. Read more