A linguist has concluded that a new language, with unique grammatical rules, has come into existence, created by children in a remote area of Australia.
Multimedia Graphic An Emerging Language xith examples
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There are many dying languages in the world. But at least one has recently been born, created by children living in a remote village in northern Australia.
"Carmel O’Shannessy, back left, spends up to eight weeks a year in the village of Lajamanu. Gracie White Napaljarri, back right, is a Warlpiri speaker but children in her family speak Warlpiri and Light Warlpiri.
Carmel O’Shannessy, a linguist at the University of Michigan, has been studying the young people’s speech for more than a decade and has concluded that they speak neither a dialect nor the mixture of languages called a creole, but a new language with unique grammatical rules.
The language, called Warlpiri rampaku, or Light Warlpiri, is spoken only by people under 35 in Lajamanu, an isolated village of about 700 people in Australia’s Northern Territory. In all, about 350 people speak the language as their native tongue.
Dr. O’Shannessy has published several studies of Light Warlpiri, the most recent in the June issue of Language.
"They have been combining their local dialect of Warlpiri with "varieties of English and/or Kriol," making for a "radical restructuring of the verbal auxiliary system" over the past three-and-a-half decades, according to O’Shannessy. ...This is a legit new language, not two tongues smashed together. As The Smithsonian explains: "So, the new language, light Warlpiri, borrows some verb structures and nouns from its parent languages, but it puts these pieces together in a new way. This is in much the same was as how many of the Romance languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Romanian, seem to borrow words from each other while being noticeably different languages.".......