She's the last person left who can speak this language, but she's not letting it go without a fight.

Can you imagine what it must feel like to be the one whose shoulders the language of your people depends on?

We all speak a language. And if you're reading this, chances are we all speak at least one of the same languages. But here are some language facts you may not be familiar with:


Whoa, that's a lot of languages! But remember, many of those languages are only spoken by a few thousand people. In fact, about 500 of those languages have fewer than 20,000 speakers left.

And unfortunately, when languages go extinct, we don't just lose the languages themselves — we lose the culture and age-old knowledge that comes with them ('cause remember, many of them are unwritten and undocumented).

And y'know what's worse? Several of the endangered native languages in the U.S. are on the verge of extinction, with only a handful of fluent speakers remaining.

Because statistics can never really tell the full story, here's a look at one tenacious woman's fight to save her language from extinction.

Not into watching the video? Here's one of my favorite parts, where Marie describes typing the Wukchumni dictionary one word — one letter, even — at a time. It took her seven years to complete.

And despite what Marie said about not necessarily wanting to teach anyone else the language, she and her daughter Jennifer now teach weekly Wukchumni classes to members of their tribe. Pretty dang impressive.

To learn a bit more about endangered languages and do some exploring on your own, check out UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.

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