Nepal’s mystery language on the verge of extinction

Gyani Maiya Sen, a 75-year-old woman from western Nepal, can perhaps be forgiven for feeling that the weight of the world rests on her shoulders.

She is the only person still alive in Nepal who fluently speaks the Kusunda language. The unknown origins and mysterious sentence structures of Kusunda have long baffled linguists.

As such, she has become a star attraction for campaigners eager to preserve her dying tongue.

Madhav Prasad Pokharel, a professor of linguistics at Nepal’s Tribhuwan University, has spent a decade researching the vanishing Kusunda tribe.

Professor Pokharel describes Kusunda as a language isolate, not related to any common language of the world.

There are about 20 language families in the world, he said, among them are the Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan and Austro-Asiatic group of languages.

Kusunda stands out because it is not phonologically, morphologically, syntactically and lexically related to any other languages of the world — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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