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Top 10 bizarre languages spoken around the world – Interesting facts & Top 10 lists

You just had an amazing day (or, a trashy one or, a so-so day). You woke up, guzzled your breakfast, made your way to office (or school), worked hard for the day, caught some lunch….screech! Sounds something like your schedule right? But then something is amiss. Yes! The little chats with your beloved over a cuppa coffee (or tea) in the morning, you screaming at the top of your lungs, “I am late”, and you asking a colleague, “How are things?” You may not have realized this but in a stretch of an hour or so you might have spoken in at least two tongues (bilingual, tri-lingual, multilingual; polyglot that we are).Our life revolves, evolves and at times, even dissolves with the languages that we speak. It’s the foundation of our cultural pride, regional fight and international glide.

Love languages; the soft consonants, the harsh vowels, the high pitch hitting a low, it’s a wonderful thing which we forget to appreciate. As a student of Applied Linguistics, I am the last one to disregard a language. Every tongue is aesthetically different, yet there are some which stand apart from the usual. Here is a list of bizarre languages spoken in parts of the world, decipherable by some, babble for others.

10. Mixtec (Chalcatongo)

A set of languages which belongs to Otomanguean language family of Mexico, and are closely related to the Trique and Cuicatec languages. The world would be a better place if we all spoke the Mixtec language. Why? Well, for one their questions and statements sound exactly the same. So if you want to ask, “Are you all right?” and, “You are all right” would sound alike. Imagine watching a game with a commentary which sounds like a bunch of questions

9. Archi

In southern Russia by the Caspian Sea there is a miniscule village called Archib with a population of only 1,200 (or, less). It’s the only place in the world where Archi is still spoken. The baffling aspect of this bizarre language is its 1,50,000 or more separate conjugation for one given verb. For instance, English speakers can conjugate the word “run” to ran, running, has run and so on. But these peeps can conjugate “run” in million and a half different ways depending on the situation. They also use a rare and fancy speech element called “velar lateral fricative” (try saying “Bach”).

8. Pawnee

Few can hold a candle to Pawnee, spoken by Native Americans indigenous to Nebraska. Their kids are not pestered by their parents in public to say all the alphabets in order, without a pause. Wonder why? They have only nine consonants and eight vowels. But,but! There is always a “but”; they have multiple words that contain more than 30 syllables. Unfortunately, it’s the old and creaking of the community who speak this bizarre language these days, the young and restless ones are learning English instead (snob!), adding to its ( Pawnee) process of extinction.

7. Yupik

Yupik is an umbrella term used to describe a family of five bizarre languages, spoken by residents of Siberia and Western Alaska. Each one of these languages is similar yet dissimilar. Sounds confusing? It means, if people from a different region come across each other, they cannot make sense of each other’s tongue, yet can understand a part of it. This is because of the sentence structure and similar phonetic sounds. And the raddest part of the language is they create a single word to express a sentence. For instance, the word tuntussuqatarniksaitengqiggtuq.literally means, “He had not yet said again that he was going to hunt reindeer.”

6. Sentinelese

Sentinelese is a weird tongue as nobody knows anything about it! Yes we have experts who deal with that, but the Sentinelese speaking community abhor people from other community which is portrayed by them by shooting arrows. A small island in the Indian Ocean, Sentinelese is perceived (rather, presumed) to be more like the Andamanese languages (all their nouns are based on body parts). The only communication carried out with them at some point of time consisted of exchange of colourful buckets!

5. Sibo Gomero

This one here is beautifully bizarre language. The language of La Gomera on the coast of Spain consists of whistles… WHISTLES. They exchange words by way of whistles; the rising tone and the falling tone and pitch of which holds a world of meaning. Set in a mountainous region, the language of whistles allows the inhabitants to communicate across great distances, without the hassle of jumbling and distortion of spoken words.

4. Pirahã

The Pirahã language of Brazil is the last remaining of its kind.  It is also one of the simplest languages in existence, with somewhere between ten and twelve phonemes (sounds). These people have nothing to do with colours as they do not have words for them. Hence in this bizarre language the only way to express colour is “light” and “dark”. So all the fancy colours in the world like fuchsia, teal etc. is just “dark” & “light” for them. And they arguably don’t have numbers as well. They have words like hói and hoí (note the different accents) which literally means “large quantity” and “small quantity”. So 10, 50, 100, 10000 … one uses the same word for all of them. Moreover, there are natives who can even manage to communicate without words (just hums and whistles).

3. Rotokas

Another one of the simplest languages in the world, this one is found in Papua New Guinea. With 12 phonemes with no tonal variation, their alphabet is considered to be only 12 letters long. They also are unique by way of not having nasal phonemes (the one in ‘sing’).

2. Khoisan

Click languages is an African speciality, with two main families; Bantu, which includes the Xhosa language, and Khoisan, which is considered to be the forerunner of Bantu, and one of the oldest languages on the continent. But unlike Bantu, Khoisan is falling apart. To know how bizarre language(unique) is this, watch this short film on youtube

1. Taa

An official Khoisan (one of them), with its vast tonal ranges, Taa outshines the rest. Taa has more spoken phonemes than any other language in the world. Linguists believe that it in alone has 164 consonants and 111 click sounds and this is just an account of the Taa spoken the West! Their rising, falling, medium, consistent tones each conveys a plethora of meanings. The tones and the click thrown together means a whole set of new thing. Interestingly, the locals refer Taa as Taa-aan; Taa means “human beings” and Ann means “language”, so it literally means “language of the human beings”.

But at the end of the day these languages are not just weird; these are an integral part of the world we inhabit. These are beautiful, unique and needs to be preserved. For all you know, these “unique-tongue-speakers” consider our “normal-tongue” to be weird.