Today’s New York Times reports the discovery of a previously unknown language, Koro, in northeastern India. But the new language is offset by extinction: according to the article, every two weeks one of the world’s 7000 languages becomes extinct. National Geographic has put up a short film about the search for new tongues; it shows Koro being spoken.
In “The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World’s Most Endangered Languages,” published last month by National Geographic Books, Dr. Harrison noted that Koro speakers “are thoroughly mixed in with other local peoples and number perhaps no more than 800.”
Moreover, linguists are not sure how Koro has survived this long as a viable language. Dr. Harrison wrote: “The Koro do not dominate a single village or even an extended family. This leads to curious speech patterns not commonly found in a stable state elsewhere.”