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Ancient tribal language becomes extinct as last speaker dies

In: News

Posted By: Alfred K at 5:15 pm

5 Feb 2010

The last speaker of an ancient tribal language has died in the Andaman Islands, breaking a 65,000-year link to one of the world’s oldest cultures.

Boa Sr, who lived through the 2004 tsunami, the Japanese occupation and diseases brought by British settlers, was the last native of the island chain who was fluent in Bo.

Taking its name from a now-extinct tribe, Bo is one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages, which are thought to date back to pre-Neolithic human settlement of south-east Asia.

Though the language has been closely studied by researchers of linguistic history, Boa Sr spent the last few years of her life unable to converse with anyone in her mother tongue.

Boa Sr appears to have been in good health until recently. During the Indian Ocean tsunami, she reportedly climbed a tree to escape the waves.

She told linguists afterwards that she had been forewarned. “We were all there when the earthquake came. The eldest told us the Earth would part, don’t run away or move.”

In other news, this lady reminds me a lot of this guy:

Enjoy the weekend

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