Rama is one of the indigenous languages of the Chibchan family spoken by the Rama people on the island of Rama Cay and south of lake Bluefields on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. Other indigenous languages of this region include: Miskito and Sumu (Craig 1992). Rama is one of the northernmost languages of the Chibchan family (Craig 1990:293).
The Rama language is severely endangered. Their language was described as "dying quickly for lack of use" as early as the 1860s (Pim & Seemann 1869:280). By 1980, the Rama were noted as having "all but lost their original ethnic language", and had become speakers of a form of English creole instead (Craig 1990:293). Language revival efforts began in 1980–1981 under the Sandinistas; though literacy campaigns were launched for neighbouring languages such as Miskito and Sumu, the same was not practical for Rama due to the small number of speakers. (Craig 1990:293). The fieldwork for the first dictionary of Rama was done during this time by Robin Schneider, a graduate student from the University of Berlin (Rigby & Schneider 1989). In 1992, only approximately 36 fluent speakers could be found among an ethnic population of 649 individuals in 1992, of whom only a few scattered individuals live outside Nicaragua (Craig 1992). The number of speakers on Rama Cay island was only 4 in 1992, due to language shift to English that engendered Rama Cay Creole (Craig 1992).
Other articles related to "rama language, rama":
... Rama has borrowed words from Miskito (e.g ... taara "big"), English, Rama Cay Creole and Spanish ... Besides such loans, Rama has a primary lexicon of Chibchan origin, expanded through various word-formation processes, to which we now turn ...
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