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STATES CHRONICLE – According to researchers, there are currently 7,00 different languages being spoken on Earth. While this list looks rather large, it doesn’t make experts any less eager to search for potentially undiscovered languages.
A clear example of there being more left to uncover is the recent discovery of a mysterious language. There are only about 280 people from a village in Malaysia who speak it.
It seems that this mysterious language was found as part of the Tongues of the Semang project, conducted by researchers from Lund University in Sweden. The idea that fuels the project is to gather data on the languages that ethnic Semang people are speaking. These languages are part of an Austroasiatic language family called Aslian.
However, while the experts were busy analyzing a language called Jahai, they reached the unexpected conclusion that not everyone in that village was speaking it.
According to Joanne Yager, lead author of the study, many members of that community used different words and grammatical structures. The name of this previously-undiscovered language is Jedek. A study paper is available in the journal Linguist Typology.
It seems that the cluster of Jedek speakers is a hunter-gatherer tribe who once lived near the Pergau river. Recently, they moved to the northern part of Malaysia.
Jedek, a Mysterious Language in Its Rarity
Joanne Yager also says that part of what deemed this mysterious language remarkable was the fact that nobody knew to search for it. It’s interesting because anthropologists had previously analyzed this village where the Jedek speakers live. Still, none of them noticed the grammatical or vocabulary differences or thought to record them.
Usually, even if some languages do not have descriptions or are undocumented, experts know of their existence. Perhaps more importantly, specialists know where to look for them. This was not the case with Jedek.
This may have happened because the language does not have an official name. Its current name comes from the terms most commonly used by the villagers.
It’s also fascinating and interesting to point out that the language does not have words for stealing, selling or buying. However, it has vast expressions for verbs like exchanging and sharing.
Image source: Wikimedia