Last Two Speakers of Dying Language Refuse to Talk to Each OtherS

Ayapaneco is a dying language, once spoken in what is now the Mexican state of Tabasco. There are only two speakers left, both of whom live in the same village. And they refuse to talk to each other.

Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez, are 75 and 69, respectively. They live less than a mile from each other in the village of Ayapa and, apparently, "they have never really enjoyed each other's company."

"They don't have a lot in common," says Daniel Suslak, a linguistic anthropologist from Indiana University, who is involved with a project to produce a dictionary of Ayapaneco. Segovia, he says, can be "a little prickly" and Velazquez, who is "more stoic," rarely likes to leave his home.

Suslak and other linguists are attempting to create the most complete record possible of Ayapaneco, which is called "Nuumte Oote" by (both of) its native speakers, and Mexico's National Indigenous Language Institute wants to start up classes. Segovia has tried to teach the language before and been discouraged by a lack of interest—possibly because he's "a little prickly."

[Guardian]