Uncommon Languages

How many of you have learned, is learning, or will learn an uncommon language? I’m wondering about this subject, because I’m just curious. What do I mean by uncommon languages? Languages like Icelandic, Irish Gaelic, Alsatian, and any other language you can add here.

Thank you for reading and/or posting your comments.

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It turns out that a lot of my favorite languages are uncommon languages - Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Icelandic, Sami, Welsh, all of these are incredibly unpractical languages… but that makes them more interesting. If you’re learning one of these languages you’re learning it out of a genuine desire and interest in the place where the language is spoken or the language itself. For many uncommon languages there’s a fascinating and alluring culture or story behind it, more so than most common languages, not always because they’re just plain uncommon.

Which is why it can also bring a tear to me eye to see these languages disappear. Many people will say that these languages are disappearing because there is no longer any need for these languages in order to communicate, which of course is not true, considering (in the case of say…Irish)…it would have been something like discrimination against speakers of the language by authorities, banning in schools, etc., which is completely artificial and it’s an absolute shame to see the language recede.

It would be interesting to know how many people actually speak uncommon languages and silently lurk among us.

And by the way, my profile photo to the right’s of a "Gaeltacht’, which is what Irish speaking parts of Ireland are called.


I have a basic grasp of Haitian Creole. Off and on (mostly off!) I study Hmoob Dawb (White Hmong).

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I was wondering when and how you learned Irish Gaelic. You must of probably used tons of resources,( I bet I will need all the books I can get my hands, when I start on Breton)? There is about one million speakers of Irish Gaelic,mostly in Ireland though, but it is coming back.


Haitian Creole is a little bit understandable. Only the ones that sound familiar to their French counterparts. What is Hmoob? Is it a African or Caribbean language? I think Moses speaks Haitian Creole, so could maybe ask him to practice the language.

@will tobin
Not that Im a languagegeek but about Sami, northern or southern? (:
I would like to learn sami as well. But of course I won´t actually do it.

its a great question. And pretty cool if people actually starts learning such languages.

I actually learned the Creole first and then used it as a base to learn French!

Hmoob is spoken in my community by a large population of refugees. They came from the hill country of Laos although there are also Hmoob in China. (Moses also studies Hmoob, I believe.)

The language has 7 or 8 tones, depending how you count.

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How did you learn Haitian Creole? All the Haitians I’ve ever met have been absolutely lovely people, and I’ve thought it would be fun to pick up some phrases. If I go to Haiti one day, I guess I could just speak French and gradually I’ll pick up the Creole?

ad Jingle: (…) I study Hmoob Dawb (White Hmong). (…)

Very interesting. I admit never having heard of that language before. The variant you refer to seems to be spoken mostly in Laos and the US (according to wikipedia).

After I had come back from Ecuador (in the mid 90ies) I wanted to study some Quichua (Quechua). But it was hard to get your hands on any study material then (Internet was not really an option yet either).

I want to learn German. This is in no way an uncommon language, but it is pretty uncommon for people to be crazy enough to want to learn it!

ad Colin: (…)…but it is pretty uncommon for people to be crazy enough to want to learn it! (…)

I even know some people who actually enjoy speaking it :slight_smile:

I’m hoping to learn Nahautl at some point, but I expect that, if it happens, it will happen some years in the future yet…

If Yucatec Maya is on the list, then count me in.

@cribbe - It’s useless to say you aren’t a language geek. We’re all language geeks here :wink: And about Sami, Northern is kind of the only one that really exists anymore… if you see what I mean :frowning:

@ozzy Yeah, there are plenty of people and organizations passionate about keeping it alive, so there isn’t a lack of resources. You can really learn whichever way you’d like. For Breton, however…there looks to only be one Colloquial course. I don’t know, maybe you’d want to learn Welsh first?

There is an Assimil Breton, it might help to speak French first, though.


I have don’t have much interest in learning Welsh. Irish Gaelic though I would have a go at maybe, because of some ancestry on the other side of my family. Do you speak or learning Welsh? If you have knowledge this rare celtic language, I should worship you like a god. X’D I’ve managed to find a 2 or 3 books on learning Breton. If I were to move back to europe though, I’d be able to get the Breton for dummies. Amazon France actually has this book.


Good thing I do speak French. So then that means the next step is for me buy course book.

@Davidjvl: I learned Haitian Creole when I lived in Haiti for most of one year (a long time ago!). French is studied by Haitians in school but not necessarily mastered. The more educated, more well-to-do city dwellers speak it more, of course. I’m not sure how far you’d get in Haiti just speaking French with “the man off the street”. Basic greetings, numbers, and a lot of vocab are the same, but there are really basic words that are different: j’aime = mwen renmen. Il y a = genyen. On the other hand, Bon jou! and bon swa! work fine.

@ILLIII - I was actually able to take several semesters of Hmoob at our local junior college taught by a teacher who spoke of fleeing through the jungle with his family as a young boy. Online I found a treasure trove of material in the form of an oral history project. It includes recordings and transcripts! This is my first Asian language so I’m quite challenged by the tones and classifiers. Another difficulty is that the spelling isn’t standardized. So it’s lots of fun!

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Eg eri ein av hesum kvirru torgslúrarunum, LiamT nevnir, tó eri eg, kanska ikki altíð so friðarligur. :slight_smile:

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Ég skil næstum Klettur, ertu að tala færeisku? Fallegur víking tungamál. Ég geri rád að þú segir eithvað gott…eh, takk! :wink:

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Kaixo, Euskeraz hitzegiten duen norbait? Bi urte Londresen egonda prakatikatzeko grina daukat. HIZKUNTZA BAT EZ DA IKASTEN, EZ DAKITENAK SAIATZEN EZ BADIRA.