When the Spanish first arrived at Río de la Plata 35 native languages were spoken in what is now Argentina. Only 15 remain today! Among them: Tehuelche, Vilela, Mocobí, Chulupí, Toba, Pilagá, Tapiete, Wichi, Quichua, Guaraní, y Chorote.
Toba, spoken by natives in the north of the country has around 70,000 speakers. Even though it is not a language that is disappearing as ‘fast’ as others, many believe it may be lost within the next generation. How important is it to preserve existing languages?
Tapiete is another language spoken in the north of Argentina, Bolivia and also Paraguay. Recently, the community has been encouraged to preserve their vanishing native language. Adults realised they were not transmitting their language to their young. Today, this ‘Tapiete Revival’ has been a success and with the help of the University of Buenos Aires they are teaching the language to their children.
Languages carry with them the whole history of their people and their culture. Do these also die when languages do so?