Cultural diversity

Language: Karaim, Lithuania. ©Discovery Channel 2004
Language: Karaim, Lithuania

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Language(s): Idu Mishmi, English

Summary/Historical Context

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For more than six hundred years, Karaim has been spoken as a community language in the territory of today's Lithuania and Ukraine. Due to the political measures taken by the post-war Soviet regime, the communities are now dispersed and their language has become endangered. The number of Karaims in Lithuania is about two hundred but only a fourth of them, mostly members of the eldest generation, still have a communicative competence in the language. Karaim speakers of Lithuania are multilingual, also having command of the regional or transregional dominant languages: Lithuanian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian. The functional domain of the Karaim language is restricted to everyday conversational situations in the family and with a few Karaim friends. Karaim also plays an important role in religious practice, since songs and prayers are both in Karaim and Hebrew.


- Karaim in UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger .

- Ethnologue - Languages of the World

Place/region Lithuania, Europe
Series: Connecting through culture- Celebrating diversity
Type: Documentary
Production: Discovery Channel, producer. United Nations, sponsor.
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