Kusunda

Created things pass away.

Here is an interesting I found at dictionary.com:

Obscure language isolate will die with this woman

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. Around the globe languages are dying rapidly as more and more people are learning global languages instead of maintaining their native tongues. Kusunda, a unique language of Nepal, is another of these dying languages.

Linguists, like biologists, have a scale to measure how endangered a language is. A language is considered “safe” if it will be spoken by children in 100 years. A language is classified as “endangered” when it is unlikely that children will speak it in 100 years. However, Kusunda is more vulnerable than that. It is technically a “moribund” language, which means that no children are currently learning it. When the last native speakers die, a language officially becomes extinct.
Kusunda is unique not only because it is moribund, but it is also a language isolate. Like Basque, Kusunda is not related to any other spoken language. Linguists are rushing to Nepal to record Sen speaking and describing Kusunda. The language does not have an alphabet, though, which makes this task difficult. Some linguists have speculated that Kusunda may be related to Indo-Pacific languages spoken in the Pacific Islands, but there is no definitive correlation.
Recently linguists determined that an endangered language spoken in Siberia is related to languages spoken by Native American groups. Learn its full history here.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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16 Responses to Kusunda

  1. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    While languages are dying out, certain ancient arts could be on the endangered list too. For example, Tuvan throat singing has been around for ages, but for how long as younger people opt for new forms of art and communication.

    I think it was last year someone shared this video on Facebook of a young guy who went to study abroad and learned some of the styles of this singing. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear a high-pitched melody coming out at the same time as the deep tone.

    Just too cool.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zZainT9v6Q

  2. Johnno says:

    Soon all communication will be text messaged.

    The world was created with one language. As men grew evil and collaborated in their evil, God confused their languages into multiple ones and spread them out so as to keep them apart. The origin of language is one of those things that continue to entirely confound scientists and those deluded by evolutionary philosophy, though ever more studies more and more lean on the idea that the world’s languages arose from one common one and ‘evolved’ further.

    It was on Pentecost that God once again set to reunite mankind when the Holy Spirit came down like fire from heaven (the wording is similar to the event at Babel) and the Apostles spoke in tongues and every other man could hear them speak in their own native tongue simultaneously! This was the signal that God wishes to reunite mankind on the right path to reach the heavens through His Church.

  3. AnnAsher says:

    Maybe NY should make it mandatory for primary grades to learn Kusunda.

  4. ContraMundum says:

    So, I guess the moral is that even the curses of God — in this case, the curse of Babel — are actually blessings?

  5. JimmyA says:

    Big news – the Vatican has now published a translation of Summorum Pontificum in Kusunda!

  6. L. says:

    Regarding the “…endangered language spoken in Siberia …related to languages spoken by Native American groups,” do you think that Elizabeth Warren can speak it?

  7. teomatteo says:

    So… who does this lady talk to?

  8. silicasandra says:

    @teomatteo: It doesn’t say that it’s the only language she speaks. ;) Many people can speak more than just their native language (and more of us probably should – I can probably still pass as proficient in French, but I used to be much better. I envy those who grew up learning multiple languages because acquiring new ones even after adulthood seems to be easier for them than for those of us who started in adolescence or even later elementary years – I started French in fifth grade. I know I would like to learn at least some Spanish, and Latin would have its uses, as well…)

    Even though it’s a natural process, I do feel sad that this language will, in all likelihood, completely die out with this woman. Languages are fascinating things and there is a bit of knowledge that will be irretrievable once fluency in her language is gone.

  9. Dismas says:

    Keep the heavy Latin use blog articles coming Fr. Z! Reading the Latin and seeing the English translation or even having to google the English translation helps.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    Cornish died but has been re-introduced. There is some evidence that the language lasted into the 20th century, when it was supposedly died out in the 18th century, as a real communal spoken language. Here is a transcript of a letter in Cornish, written in long-hand, of course.

    William Bodinar’s Letter (1776)

    Original Text

    wbms: 1 Bluth vee try egance a pemp.
    wbms: 2 Thera vee dean bodgack an puscas.
    wbms: 3 Me rig deskey Cornoack termen me vee mawe.
    wbms: 4 Me vee de more gen seara vee a pemp dean mouy en cock.
    wbms: 5 Me rig scantlower clowes eden ger Sowsnack en cock rag sythen warebar.
    wbms: 6 Na riga vee biscath gwellas lever Cornoack.
    wbms: 7 Me deskey Cornoack moas da more gen tees coath.
    wbms: 8 Nag es mouy vel pager po pemp en dreav nye ell clapia Cornoack leben,
    wbms: 9 poble coath pager egance blouth.
    wbms:10 Cornoack ewe oll naceaves gen poble younk.

    ——————————————————————————

    Kernewek Kemmyn (Ystynnyz) Modern Cornish Spelling

    wbkk: 1 [Ow] bloedh vy [yw] tri ugens ha pymp.
    wbkk: 2 Yth ezov vy den boghozek an puskez.
    wbkk: 3 My a wrug dyski Kernewek [y'n] termyn [ha] my a veu maw.
    wbkk: 4 My a veu dhe’n mor gans [ow] sira vy ha pymp den moy y’n kog.
    wbkk: 5 My a wrug skantlowr klywez unn ger Sowsnek y’n kog rag seythun warbarth.
    wbkk: 6 Ny wruga vy bythkweyth gwelez lyver Kernewek.
    wbkk: 7 My a wrug dyski Kernewek ow moz dhe’n mor gans tuz koth.
    wbkk: 8 Nynz eus moy ez pezwar po pymp y’n trev ni a yll klappye Kernewek lemmyn,
    wbkk: 9 pobel goth pezwar ugens bloedh.
    wbkk:10 Kernewek yw oll ankevyz gans pobel yowynk.

    ——————————————————————————

    Free Translation

    1. I’m sixty-five years old.
    2. I’m a poor fisherman.
    3. I learnt Cornish when I was a boy.
    4. I was at sea with my father and five more men in a fishing boat.
    5. I hardly heard a single word of English in the boat for a week at a time.
    6. I’ve never seen a Cornish book.
    7. I learnt Cornish going to sea with the old fellows.
    8. There’s no more than four or five in our village who can talk Cornish now,
    9. old folk eighty years old.
    10. Cornish had been entirely forgotten by the young.

  11. asperges says:

    What language did Adam speak?

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    Supertradmum,
    Cornish is related to Gaelic, and you can actually pick out cognates (bloed for bliadhna, counting in twenties, Sowsnek for Sassenach). It’s like knowing German and listening to Plattdeutsch.
    asperges,
    Adam and Eve spoke Gaelic. Ask any Highlander.

  13. PostCatholic says:

    Fictish, asperges.

  14. teomatteo says:

    Asperges, Adam spoke latin of course. All the creatures, flora and fauna are named in latin!

  15. Art says:

    @teomatteo:
    And whenever Adam did math or physics, he did it in greek!

  16. jflare says:

    I don’t think I”m going to throw a party to celebrate the end of a language, but neither do I intend to stage a funeral. I’ve heard about the “death of a language” a few times before. I’ve never truthfully understood why anyone besides linguists would care very much. I’ve heard from multiculturalists that we Americans should speak more than one language.

    Reasons:
    1.
    2.
    3. They say so.

    I’m well aware that many groups of Europeans may speak five languages or more. Good for them. I’ve never heard why that’s important to me. We’ve done quite nicely with English for a few centuries now.
    Also, given that these efforts never mention Latin as a language we ought to learn, I’ve long considered their general attitude..questionable.

    BTW, for the record, I”m sure the crack about Adam and Latin, was just that, but Latin descriptions of things, at least with the more or less current methods, didn’t begin until at least 1700.