Well, it’s not new to its speakers, obviously, but it’s new to the rest of us. Researchers for the the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages were investigating two other little-known languages, Aka and Miji, spoken in a small district of Arunachal Pradesh when they found a language called Koro, part of the Tibeto-Burman language family. You can read a National Geographic story about it (which has an interesting discussion of how “the Koro, who number between 800 and 1,200 people, … live as a subtribe of the 10,000-person Aka tribe”) and watch the embedded video to hear some of the language, and there’s an NPR interview with K. David Harrison, who was one of the researchers. And via the MeFi post about the discovery, I found this story about the discovery of thirty new languages in China. (Thanks for the heads-up, Doc Rock and komfo,amonan!)


  1. aqilluqqaaq says

    Ethnologue reports 9% lexical similarity between Koro Aka and Hruso Aka, which is at least as close as the various Tani languages to each other, a group with which Levai, listed as a dialect of Hruso, also shares noteworthy similarities.

  2. michael farris says

    OT: the relevant thread is closed but just saw this
    I thought I’d mention it here since I’m fairly sure hat is too cultured to read the Daily Mail (one of my guilty pleasures).

  3. from Michael Farris’s link:

    The manual also warns about using the word ‘British’. It states: ‘Use of the term as a synonym for White, English or Christian is incorrect and unacceptable.’

    Picky is ahead of them there.

  4. Should “white” be capitalized?

  5. I was struck by the levels of irony to be found in this sentence: “Speakers of some 25 languages of the officially recognised Tibetan ethnic group in Sichuan strongly reject any claim that they’re anything but Tibetan, and don’t want distinct languages to be identified as such.”

  6. I’m rather uncomfortable with how this news was released to the media. The discovery of the Koro happened a couple of years ago. The only reason for the press release is to drum up sales for K. David Harrison’s new book The Last Speakers, just published by Nat. Geographic. This discovery isn’t really news. Rather, it’s something that has been known for some time that is only presented as news to make money.

  7. You’re right, that is annoying.

  8. aqilluqqaaq says

    The Koro Aka people were identified in 2005, it was discovered they speak Koro, not Hruso, in 2008, it has since been documented, and the research will now be published in 2010. That’s brisk work.
    The bare fact of the discovery is of extremely limited interest without the research, which, whether as The Last Speakers, or in the journal Indian Linguistics is now (or soon to be) available. Hence, news.

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