Busuu

Today, for B, we have the Busuu language from Cameroon, Africa.

Busuu, as you can see from the video above (made by the people behind the language learning website busuu.com) is spoken by only eight people in Cameroon. As there are only eight speakers, much like Ainu, Busuu is classified by UNESCO as being critically endangered and will likely die out within the next generation.

There is an absolute dearth of information related to Busuu beyond these facts; it seems as though the language was little known before the mid-1980s and began to die out before this too, though whether this was due to a shift to another more dominant language, or to some other reason, I cannot say.

However, the creators behind busuu.com have tried to stage some kind of revitalisation effort, with their video that went live in 2011. They visited the remaining speakers of the language and made the song you can watch above, as well as some short messages that can be seen on youtube. There is also a short Busuu course on busuu.com. This does not, unfortunately, make it likely that the language will survive – but it does serve to educate us a little more before it becomes extinct; and what is pretty cool about this effort is that we can hear the language from its native speakers, which is much more difficult with many other endangered languages.

Resources for learning Busuu

Busuu.com: Busuu Language Beginner (scroll past the video)
Youtube: Save Busuu playlist (from busuu.com)

Sources/Further Reading

Ethnologue: Busuu
Busuu.com: Help us to save the language Busuu!
Washington Post: Busuu language, with only 8 speakers left, seeking a comeback in song
The AFRican: A matter of urgency – saving Cameroon’s Busuu language
Breton, Roland: Is there a Furu language group? An investigation on the Cameroon-Nigeria border

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