彭蒙惠英语:20110211 MP3在线课程 Distinct Language Discovered

时间 : 2013-12-10 07:21来源 : VOA官网 收听下载次数 :
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Distinct Language Discovered

by Amina Khan / (c) 2010, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

A previously unknown language has been uncovered in the far reaches of northeastern India 

Koro, a tongue brand new to the scientific world that is spoken by just 800 to 1,200 people,could soon face extinction as younger speakers abandon it for more widely used languages such as Hindi or English.

What is Koro?

Koro is unlike any language in the various branches of the Tibeto-Burman family, a collection of 400 related languages used by peoples across Asia, according to the two National Geographic fellows who announced the discovery.

The researchers, linguists K. David Harrison of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and Gregory D.S. Anderson, director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Oregon, said they are not sure yet how old Koro is or how it developed. But they believe it could yield a wealth of knowledge about the way humans develop and use language.

Until now, the speakers of Koro had remained invisible to outside observers because their bright red garments, the rice beer they made and other details of their lives seemed no different from the speakers of Aka, the socially dominant language in the region, Harrison said.

"There's a sort of cultural invisibility─they're culturally identical in what they wear, what they eat, the houses they live in ... they just happen to have a different word for everything," Harrison said.

"I expect that there are many such hidden languages around the world," said Paul Lewis, editor of the 16th edition of Ethnologue: Languages of the World. "The lesser-known languages quite often are overlooked and understudied."

发现前所未知的语言

印度东北部偏远地区发现前所未知的语言

只有八百至一千两百人使用的克洛语,对科学界来说是崭新的语言。然而随着年轻人放弃克洛语,转而选择印度语或英语等更广泛使用的语言,克洛语可能很快就会面临灭绝的命运。

何谓克洛语?

公布这项发现的两位国家地理杂志研究人员表示,亚洲各地许多民族使用藏缅语系,相关语言分支达四百种,而克洛语却和藏缅语各系属完全不同。

这两位研究人员,分别为宾州史瓦莫学院的语言学家K.大卫.哈理逊与奥勒冈州拯救濒危语言学院院长葛瑞格理.D.S.安德森。他们表示,尚无法确定克洛语已有多久历史,也不清楚该语言的发展。但是两人相信,克洛语对人类发展与使用语言的方式,能够提供丰富知识。

哈理逊表示,克洛语族群一直不为外界观察者所知的原因,是因为他们所穿的大红衣饰、所制的米啤酒、以及其他生活细节,看似与亚加语族群并无二异。亚加语是该地区的社会主流语言。

哈理逊指出,「这有点像是文化上的隐形,他们在食、衣、住等方面的文化相同……只是一切用语刚好都不同。」

「我相信世界上有许多这类隐而未显的语言,」第十六版的《民族语:世界语言》(暂译)编辑保罗.路易斯表示, 「比较不为人所知的语言总是受到忽略、缺乏研究。」

 

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