The Amazon may have been the epicenter of the pandemic's effect on indigenous languages. The largest tropical rainforest on the planet also has the most linguistic diversity. Other countries, such as Papua New Guinea, may have more languages, but none has more distinct language families than the Amazon, which has about 50, despite the fact that many of those families now only have one remaining tongue. Meanwhile, a modern, more infectious strain of the novel coronavirus, which originated in the Brazilian jungle city of Manaus, has spread across most of South America, including Peru.
When the last true native speakers of each language die, a gateway into understanding unsolved mysteries of human evolution and how our brains function closes.
Unfortunately, this is the case for this indigenous Amazonians. Before the pandemic, Manoki, an “isolate” language (meaning the last survivor of an entire language family in Mato Grosso), had only seven fully fluent speakers in Western Brazil. However, two of them died of Covid-19, and one of the survivors recently turned 100, and is no longer able to speak properly. Their offspring migrated to the city and joined civilization leaving the elderly. There was occasional visits but their young were not interested in speaking the language.
The good news is, linguistics are working so hard with the remaining survivors to preserve their roots.
The inhabitants of the Amazon forest inspired the movie popularly known as 'Apocalyto'.
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