New language discovered in Australia, only spoken by 350 people
2013 07 23

From: Daily Telegraph News



It’s spoken only by a few hundred people living in a tiny desert community, and almost exclusively by those under the age of 35.

But the discovery of a new language in remote Australia is causing a ripple of excitement among linguists around the world.


Lajamanu, with a population of around 850, lies on the northern fringe of the Tanami Desert, 870 kilometres south of Darwin and 560kms southwest of Katherine by road.

It is one of the Northern Territory’s most westerly communities and its original language, Warlpiri, is spoken by about 6000 people in the region.

Carmel O’Shannesssy, a linguist from the University of Michigan, began visiting the town to study local young people’s speech more than a decade ago.

Lajamanu has no entirely paved roads and during the wet season it can be cut off.

A community-managed airline lands a plane on the town’s dirt airstrip twice a week carrying mail, and once a week a truck brings in supplies to stock Lajamanu’s one village store.

All residents speak traditional "strong" Warlpiri and some speak "Kriol", an English-based creole developed in the late 19th century and widely spoken by indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Around 350 young locals speak the new language documented by Ms O’Shannessy, called "Light Warlpiri".

The language is a complex mix of English, Kriol and Warlpiri, but has a verbal system closer to Kriol and English.

Documented in the journal Language, Light Warlpiri differs from its indigenous origins by mixing in English sentence structure.

"The striking thing about Light Warlpiri is that most of the verbs come from English or Kriol, but most of the other grammatical elements in the sentence come from Warlpiri," Ms O’Shannessy told LiveScience.

In English, the order of words in a sentence generally indicates the grammatical relationship between the subjects and objects of a verb.

In traditional Warlpiri, words can be placed in any order, and grammatical interpretations are based on suffixes that are attached to the nouns.

"In Light Warlpiri, you have one part of the language that mostly comes from English and Kriol, but the other grammatical part, the suffixing, comes from Warlpiri," Ms O’Shannessy said.

[...]

Read the full article at: dailytelegraph.com.au



Related Articles
Social Media Images Form a New Language Online
Fossil words and how language changes
Prairie dogs’ language decoded by scientists
Elephants Communicate in Sophisticated Sign Language
Before Babel: In search of the first language
For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II
Coober Pedy – Australia’s Underground Town
Religious sect found after living underground in Russia for nearly a decade
African Coins Found in Australia Thought to Be 1,000 Years Old: May Rewrite History


Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation" The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola. The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
6 Million Lies
2014 10 30
“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming hell.” C Wright Mills. I need to share information I have discovered ...
Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science. One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
More News »