Bo out

Language>> BO • Andaman Islands

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

imageOne 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.

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