Do you speak Votian?
Votian is the language spoken by the Votes. Votes are the people of Ingria, an area of Russia just Southwest of St. Petersburg, close to the Estonian border.
The Votian language is also practically extinct, with 50 speakers at most. There are no children currently speaking Votian. Experts generally consider a community's language to be "endangered" when at least 30 percent of its children no longer learn it.
Other languages, perhaps languages spoken by your ancestors, are in danger of dying out. In fact 50 to 90 percent of the world's languages are predicted to disappear in the next century, many with little or no documentation. The UN says that least 3,000 tongues are endangered, seriously endangered, or dying in many parts of the world.
Fortunately, efforts by linguists and local enthusiasts can sustain languages or even bring them back. For example, Cornish was a language spoken in England. It became extinct in 1777 but has been revived in recent years, with nearly 1,000 people now speaking it as a second language.
The Rosetta Project hopes to record all of today's languages in order to preserve dying languages. The project is named after the Rosetta Stone, a tablet written in hieroglyphic symbols and the Egyptian and Greek languages. Because Greek was well known, the stone was the key to deciphering the hieroglyphics. The Rosetta Project hopes to become the twenty-first century equivalent of the Rosetta Stone.
If you or any of your relatives can still speak one of the dying languages, the Rosetta Project would like to hear from you.