Folks, this is indeed a sad story....if you note the very last line in this story, you shall see why it is such an incredibly sad story. Widoktadwen "community spirit" certainly does not exist in this community, for that is one thing the Spanish Conquistadors did manage to kill off. The language still survives to this day, but for the lack of community spirit between these two men, it will not survive much longer, it seems.
Nin se Neaseno.
The last two speakers of a dying indigenous language in Mexico -- Ayapaneco -- don't even talk to each other, according to The Telegraph.
Manuel Segovia, 75, and Isidro Velazquez, 69, are the only two people remaining alive who are fluent in the language, which is called "Nuumte Oote" (translation: True Voice) in the native tongue.
The language has survived wars, famines, floods, and revolutions, reports the Sydney Morning Herald -- but it might not survive a standoff between the two men, who live only 500 meters apart in the village of Ayapa in the tropical lowlands of the southern state of Tabasco.
Ayapaneco has survived for a surprisingly long time, considering the fact that Mexican education expressly forbade indigenous children to speak anything but Spanish starting in the mid-20th century.
"It's a sad story," says Daniel Suslak, a linguistic anthropologist from Indiana University, who is involved with a project to produce a dictionary of Ayapaneco. "But you have to be really impressed by how long it has hung around."
Segovia has denied having any active animosity with Velazquez, but Suslak says the two men "don't have a lot in common."
The Herald says there are 68 different indigenous languages in Mexico, which are further subdivided into 364 variations. A handful of other Mexican indigenous languages are also in danger of extinction, but Ayapaneco is the most extreme case.
Suslak says the language is rich in what he calls "sound-symbolic" expressions that often take their inspiration from nature; for example, the word "kolo-golo-nay" is translated as ''to gobble like a turkey''.
The National Indigenous Language Institute is planning one last attempt to hold classes so Segovia and Velazquez can pass on their knowledge to other locals -- before the language completely disappears.
Segovia says he knows it's a race against time. "When I was a boy, everybody spoke it," he said. "It's disappeared little by little, and now I suppose it might die with me."