Study into historic Tasmanian languages

arena-busqueda-duna_2353108It was previously thought that Tasmanian natives only spoke one or two languages, but a new study has used some controversial techniques to try to disprove this theory. Tasmania’s Aboriginal population apparently spoke 12 different languages more than 200 years ago.

Studying the language history is difficult because there are no native speakers left, and documentation is scarce.

Researcher Associate Professor Clare Bowern of Yale University said:

“We don’t have any independent witnesses of the vocabulary, which makes it quite a difficult classification problem. Luckily there are tools in biology that have been developed to sort this out.”

The Professor analysed 3,200 unique words recorded in 44 lists, from between 1777 and 1847 to determine how many languages probably existed. The findings fit with existing anthropological research, which suggests that the Aboriginal tribes on the island had little, if any contact. Learning languages its always important, the secret is to find the best place to take classes, and Language Trainers definitely is!

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