'Hidden' language discovered in remote Indian tribe

Washington, Oct 6 (ANI): Linguists have discovered a 'hidden' language spoken in a northeastern tribe of India.

Koro belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family, which includes 400 languages such as Tibetan and Burmese. About a thousand people in Arunachal Pradesh speak it.

Experts stumbled upon the language in 2008, while studying two other languages, Aka and Miji.

"This is a language that had been undocumented, completely unrecognized, and unrecorded," National Geographic News quoted researcher Gregory Anderson, director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, as saying.

Interestingly, the newly discovered tongue might already be nearing extinction, as only 800 people speak it, most of them older than 20. Additionally, the language hasn't been written down either.

"When did the Koro end up submerged within the Aka, and how did that come to be? Our most pressing task is getting decent documentation out into the professional domain so that specialists in other Tibeto-Burman languages can weigh in," said Anderson.

How the language came about is still unknown, but it's clear that it's very different from Aka.

For example, the Aka word for "mountain" is 'phu' while the Koro word is 'nggo.' Aka speakers call a pig a 'vo' while to Koro speakers a pig is a 'lele.'

But in the villages of the Aka and the Koro, everyone maintains the tribe and subtribe are the same but for a small variation in dialect.

"It is quite possible that two living communities can coexist and still maintain their separate languages," said K.V. Subbarao, a professor at the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Translation at the University of Hyderabad in India. (ANI)

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