Every two weeks, the last person capable of fluently speaking one of humankind's over 6000 languages dies. Let that sink in. Then, consider that two linguists have discovered a new one - unlike any other ever encountered in history.
The language, called Koro, was found within a tiny community of around 800 inhabitants of the Himalayan foothills - nestled in a region where 120 other dialects are already in use. The discovery of Koro is of enormous importance to linguists for reasons beyond its novelty. Koro sounds and is structured like no other language on earth, giving scientists an opportunity to interact with a population whose conception of the world is, because of the words they use, fundamentally different from the rest of us. Koro speakers "uniquely code knowledge of the natural world in ways that cannot be translated into a major language," explains Dr Gregory Anderson, one of the linguists behind the breakthrough. [WSJ]
em>Photo by rajkumar1220