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Kusunda language on verge of extinction as only one speaker is left

May 14, 2012 - London

An entire language may soon become extinct, as there is only one person who remains alive who speaks it.

Tribeswoman Gyani Maiya Sen is fluent in Kusunda - a language from western Nepal of unknown origins and mysterious sentence structures, which has baffled linguists for years.

Only about 100 Kusunda tribes' people remain, but she is the only one who can speak the language.

The campaigners who are eager to preserve the important tongue have made the 75-year-old their main focus.

"I feel very sad for not being able to speak with people from my own community. They neither understand nor speak the Kusunda language - it will die with me, the Mirror quoted Sen, who crushes stones for a living and who also speaks Nepali, as saying.

Researchers have so far been able to identify only three vowels and 15 consonants in the Kusunda language.

But experts have warned that the complicated structure means it will become extinct if future generations of the nomadic tribe don't adopt and use it.

"If the Kusunda language vanishes, a unique part of our human heritage will be lost forever," Madhav Prasad Pokharel, a professor of linguistics at Nepal's Tribhuvan University, said.

Linguists are now demanding that the Nepalese government introduce a policy to protect the endangered language.


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