Language>> BO • Andaman Islands
One of the world’s earliest languages has gone to grave with the demise of the last member of a 65,000-year-old tribe. Boa Sr, who died in December, aged about 85, was the last native of the Andaman Islands who was fluent in Bo.
Named after the tribe, Bo is one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages, thought to date back to the pre-Neolithic period when the earliest humans walked out of Africa.
Anvita Abbi, professor of Linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, who knew Boa, said the octogenarian had been losing sight and was unable to speak with anyone in her own language. Boa had no kids and her husband died years ago. Boa told her how she envied the Jarawa and the Sentinelese because they had managed to avoid contact with outsiders, she said.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.