20 Endangered Languages in 2020

20 languages in 2020

2019 might have been the International Year of Indigenous Languages (and hey, if you were interested in that, then keep your eyes out for 2022-2032!), but I didn’t want to lose any of the motivation that year brought heading into 2020. So, I’ve come up with my own challenge…

Every year (more or less) I come up with a new challenge, and every year I have a little trouble seeing it through the whole time but I’m hoping this time will be different.

For one, 2020 isn’t only the start of a new year—it’s a whole new decade and that’s something to celebrate!

For another, I’ve chosen something I’m very interested in and that I think will be a lot of fun.

My challenge for 2020 is to learn the basics of 20 endangered languages throughout the year! 

Now, first things first: I’m not expecting to get to any kind of achievable level with these languages. I’ve worked out that I can spend a maximum of 18 days on each language before I have to move on, so that’s what I’m going to do. At just under three weeks, I’d expect to be able to talk a little about myself and have some rote phrases memorised—and a fair idea of some of the challenges that might lay ahead, should I choose to continue with any of these languages.

But, over those 18 days, I’m also expecting to spend at least nine hours on whichever endangered language is the focus (I’ve chosen my challenge languages as the focus of the 2020 366-day language challenge), though somewhere in the 18-to-36 hour range would be preferable.

I’m also going to document my progress here (obviously!) but also probably on Instagram because, for at least three of the languages, video is going to be a necessity!

So, without further ado, here’s my list of languages and the dates I’ll be learning them:

  1. 1st-18th Jan: Scottish Gaelic
  2. 19th Jan-5th Feb: Ainu
  3. 6th-23rd Feb: Guernésiais
  4. 24th Feb-12th Mar: Nahuatl
  5. 13th-30th Mar: Welsh
  6. 31st Mar-17th Apr: Māori
  7. 18th Apr-5th May: BSL (British Sign Language)
  8. 6th-23rd May: Cornish
  9. 24th May-10th Jun: Ojibwe
  10. 11th-28th Jun: Basque
  11. 29th Jun-16th Jul: DGS (Deutschen Gebärdensprache)
  12. 17th Jul-3rd Aug: Navajo
  13. 4th-21st Aug: Irish
  14. 22nd Aug-8th Sep: Tuvan
  15. 9th-26th Sep: ASL (American Sign Language)
  16. 27th Sep-14th Oct: Manx
  17. 15th Oct-1st Nov: Frisian
  18. 2nd-19th Nov: Romanes
  19. 20th Nov-7th Dec: Manchu
  20. 8th Dec-25th Dec: Breton

Oh, and of course I have a bunch of other languages I’ll still be ploughing on with, too! (But they’ll be in my 2020 goals post—so watch this space!)

Let me know what you think and, if you have any great (especially free and/or cheap) resources you think I should know about before I get started, hmu! Other than that, what are you planning for 2020?

2 thoughts on “20 Endangered Languages in 2020”

  1. Wow that’s a pretty exciting goal for 2020! Good luck, and if you need any help in March with Welsh, let me know – I’m a native speaker and happy to help 🙂


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