Friday, February 05, 2010

Ancient dialect extinct after last speaker dies

One of the world's oldest dialects, which traces its origins to tens of thousands of years ago, has become extinct after the last person to speak it died on a remote Indian island.

Boa Sr, the 85-year-old last speaker of 'Bo,' was the oldest member of the Great Andamanese tribe, R.C. Kar, deputy director of Tribal Health in Andaman, told Reuters on Friday.

She died last week in Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were hit by a devastating tsunami in 2004.

'With the death of Boa Sr and the extinction of the Bo language, a unique part of human society is now just a memory,' said Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, an organization that supports tribes worldwide."
See also The Hindu where the picture is captioned "JNU professor Anvita Abbi with Boa, one of the last surviving speakers of the unique Great Andamanese languages"

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