Lost Languages

An interesting phenomena globalization is. It produces such polarity: greater exposure and appreciation for other peoples of the world and their culture; at the same time, though, modernity has smoothed out the ridges of our differences and completely erases some nuances altogether.

Some of these nuances come in the form of rare and unique languages.

As an article on Dictionary.com recently said, “Around the globe languages are dying rapidly as more and more people are learning global languages instead of maintaining their native tongues.”

In Nepal, as the story reads, this means the language, Kusunda, is dying rapidly. In fact, all the speakers of this language have been narrowed down to a single…person.

“Seventy-five-year-old Gyani Maiyi Sen is the only native fluent speaker of Kusunda in the world, and linguists are rushing to record the unique language.”

Gyani Maiya Sen

Languages are precious because their use shapes the way the speaker sees the world, like a new pair of glasses. And humanity loses out each time a language, a unique lingual perspective, goes extinct.

On top of that, Kusunda is a mystery yet to be solved, a piece of human history yet to be understood, because Kusunda is a language isolate. This means it’s not just a dialect, or some version, of a neighboring language; as far as linguists know, it’s completely unrelated to any nearby tongue. Its roots are unknown. Some speculate it’s related to languages in the Pacific Islands, but that theory hasn’t been substantiated.

These factors explain the rush to get this language recorded (it has no script) before Ms. Sen utters her last Kusunda phrase. Because of her 1 in 7 billion status, she spends a lot of time these days with linguist researchers. Oh, and if you’re wondering how they even communicate with her, she thankfully also speaks Nepalese.

Here’s the article from Dictionary.com: here

And here’s a good one from the BBC: here

 

to new plateaus,

a nuevas mesetas,

,إلى الهضاب جديد

auf neue Plateaus,

к новым плато,

新高原,

ad novum plateaus,

 

-Brandon

What say you?