It’s not something I thought about until this last decade of my own life during which I’ve been serving with Wycliffe Bible translators, but it’s part of the reality of our world: LANGUAGES DIE.
Last week a number of news outlets reported the death of Boa Sr who was the last speaker of the Bo language in India’s Andaman Islands. One of the first articles I saw on the topic was posted on the BBC New site. This article includes an audio recording of Bo speaking her language and I agree with the caption that describes her voice as “haunting” as well as “unique.”
That audio comes from the audio that is the soundtrack for this video which records Boa telling the story of the 2004 tsunami.
[Sorry, the video I tried to embed just didn’t work. Here is a link to the article on CNN on this topic — also good — and their video. It was the source, I believe, of the one posted on YouTube which did not work. Happier to be using the original source. Still not able to embed. If I get that worked out later, I’ll swap this text out for the video.]
Another article which explores the significance of this event appears on the SIL International website.
These two articles together provide a rather good tutorial for why this matters within the context of the world of language and culture.