'Light Warlpir': Latest addition to world language list

Bangalore, July 16: A new language-Light Warlpir-has been discovered on the edge of Tanami Desert in northern Australia, which houses a small community called the Lajamanu. Populated mostly by descendents of the Aborigins forcefully re-settled by the Australian government, this area has a population of 700 people.

While some of the people speak Kriol (an English-based Creole developed in the late 19th century), there are others who speak 'strong' Warlpiri. However, very few speak the Light Warlpir. And they are mostly youngsters, below the age of 35.

How was it discovered?

Carmel O'Shannessy, a professor in the department of linguistics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbo, first discovered the language when she was teaching in a school in the Northern Territory.

When the children were taught traditional Warlpiri, she observed that few of the children switched between several languages in a conversation. That is what triggered her exploration.

'Once I recorded children speaking, I looked at the patterns and I could see that there were very striking systematic patterns. It was then that I realized this was a system of its own. The striking thing about Light Warlpiri is that most of the verbs come from English or Kriol, but most of the other grammatical elements in the sentence come from Warlpiri," said O'Shannessy.

What's more exciting?

What excites linguists about the language is its syntax and grammar. In the Warlpiri language, words can have random placements and the grammatical interpretations are based on suffixes attached to the nouns.

However, more interesting is the fact that there are word forms that refer to both the present and past time, but not the future. The credit for the evolution of the language, however, goes to the youngsters who went from shifting between English, Warlpiri, and Kriol, forming the Light Warlpiri language.

OneIndia News

Please Wait while comments are loading...