Tasmanian languages

Tasmanian languages

The Tasmanian languages are the indigenous languages of the island of Tasmania, Australia. The Tasmanian languages are believed to have become extinct in 1905, with the death of the last known speaker, Fanny Cochrane Smith.

Only little of the languages is known and no conclusive relationships with other languages were found so far, although it has been proposed that they are related to other Australian Aboriginal languages, mainly based on some phonological similarities.On the other hand, Joseph Greenberg proposed an Indo-Pacific languages superfamily also containing Andamanese languages and Papuan languages but not Australian Aboriginal languages. This hypothesis has not met with acceptance by historical linguists.

Fanny Cochrane Smith recorded a series of wax cylinder recordings of Aboriginal songs, the only existing audio recording of the Tasmanian indigenous languages. In 1972, a woman in Hobart shared with Terry Crowley one sentence and a few words that had been handed down for generations, of a language last spoken for daily communication in the 1830s.Bernard Comrie, Stephen Matthews, and Maria Polinsky. The Atlas of Languages. New York: Facts on File. Page 116.] From these sources, Tasmanian people are seeking to recover their lost languages and traditions. The largest language revival project to date is the Palawa kani project.



*cite book |last=Crowley |first=T |coauthors=Dixon, R. M. W. |year=1981 |chapter=Tasmanian |editor=Dixon, R. M. W. and Blake, B. J. |title=Handbook of Australian languages |others=Vol 2 |pages=394–421 |location=Canberra |publisher=Australian National University Press

External links

* [http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/aboriginal_studies_press/aboriginal_wall_map/map_page AIATSIS: "Aboriginal Australia Wallmap"]

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