Last member of 65,000-year-old tribe dies, taking one of world's earliest languages to the grave | World Languages | Scoop.it

The last member of a 65,000-year-old tribe has died, taking one of the world's earliest languages to the grave.

 

Boa Sr, who died last week aged about 85, was the last native of the Andaman Islands who was fluent in Bo.

 

Named after the tribe, Bo is one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages, which are thought to date back to the pre-Neolithic period when the earliest humans walked out of Africa.

 

Boa was the oldest member of the Great Andamanese, a group of tribes that are the the first descendants of early humans who migrated from Africa about 70,000 years ago and who arrived on the islands around 65,000. Other groups went on to colonise Indonesia and Australia.

She lived through the horrors and hardships of the 2004 Asian tsunami, the Japanese occupation and diseases brought by colonisers in the 19th century.

 

Boa described the moment the tsunami struck: 'We were all there when the earthquake came. 

 

'The eldest told us "the Earth would part, don't run away or move". The elders told us, that's how we know.'

 

Professor Anvita Abbi, a linguist who knew Boa, said the tribeswoman had been losing her sight in recent years and was unable to speak with anyone in her own language.

 

Boa had no children and her husband died several years ago. 

 

'Since she was the only speaker of Bo, she was very lonely as she had no one to converse with,' Professor Abbi told the Times.

'Boa Sr had a very good sense of humour, and her smile and full throated laughter were infectious.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1248754/Last-member-65-000-year-old-tribe-dies-taking-worlds-earliest-languages-grave.html#ixzz2Y5PdZnsl 
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Via Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson