Three languages have no name - is this unusual?

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On a recent extended visit to India, I learned that three languages have no name, i.e. people who don't speak that language have no name for that language, they're not aware that there are languages like these. Is this highly unusual or pretty common in those parts of the world?
 

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  • #2
Evo
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I've heard of dialects becoming so isolated that people in the next village cannot speak to each other, so it has become fairly common in countries like India.
 
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On a recent extended visit to India, I learned that three languages have no name, i.e. people who don't speak that language have no name for that language, they're not aware that there are languages like these. Is this highly unusual or pretty common in those parts of the world?

I would be surprised if such languages exist in India, except perhaps in the hill areas like the border regions of the state of Assam and perhaps a few other remote mountain districts. Almost any language/dialect can be identified in terms of membership of a language group and/or a specific location (village, valley, etc). It's not really important if the speakers don't have a specific name for their language or dialect. As recently as the 1960's there were isolated undocumented languages in New Guinea, the Amazon region of Brazil and few other places, but I doubt such instances exist today. Virtually every square meter of the land surface of the earth has been mapped as far as I know. Do you know the specific locations of these so called languages with "no name?"
 
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I would be surprised if such languages exist in India, except perhaps in the hill areas like the border regions of the state of Assam and perhaps a few other remote mountain districts. Almost any language/dialect can be identified in terms of membership of a language group and/or a specific location (village, valley, etc). It's not really important if the speakers don't have a specific name for their language or dialect. As recently as the 1960's there were isolated undocumented languages in New Guinea, the Amazon region of Brazil and few other places, but I doubt such instances exist today. Virtually every square meter of the land surface of the earth has been mapped as far as I know. Do you know the specific locations of these so called languages with "no name?"

Yes. And from my notes, these are four related languages, not three. All from Southern India. One is called Tenkichi, another is called Bangloori amchigal, a third is called Badgichi and the fourth is Konggnnyanchi. The locals call all of them "konkani" or "marathi" even though konkani in fact is spoken by people from Goa. The Goan konkani people are Christians from the old Portuguese colony whereas these four groups are Hindu from Southern India and completely different. Marathi is spoken by people from Maharashtra, which is in Western India, and they are a completely different group too.
 
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Another entry from my dairy.
"There are many groups of hill dwellers living in the Sahyadri mountain ranges of Western Maharashtra. These are very primitive mountain people almost ignored by the rest of India. There are several groups, all bracketed as 'pahadi' by people in India. The word 'pahadi' stands for 'those who live in the hills' and the several diverse groups of mountain dwellers are lumped together as one group. The groups have different customs and languages that are mutually incomprehensible but the government calls all languages 'pahadi.' These mountain people walk all over without any kind of footwear and with the barest minimum clothes. They live only about an hour away from Bombay. They are almost exclusively agricultural and probably don't know how to hunt. They are seen only by hikers and they always seem to be carrying either bundles of twigs or exquisitely-balanced containers of water on their heads."
 
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As recently as the 1960's there were isolated undocumented languages in New Guinea, the Amazon region of Brazil and few other places, but I doubt such instances exist today. =

1960's? Even in 2011, there are uncontacted tribes. Watch this video: http://www.uncontactedtribes.org/
 
  • #8
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Here's a direct link to the video: http://www.uncontactedtribes.org/brazilfootage

But the world's attention is on such tribes in Brazil and they will lose their ways pretty soon, thanks to loggers and commercial interests.

In India, on the other hand, there are mountain dwellers living within an hour from Bombay. Quoting from my records again: "They live within walking distance from Matheran, a very popular 'hill station' for residents of Bombay. Compared to the uncontacted tribes in Brazil (who will be contacted very soon because people simply cannot leave them alone) these mountain dwellers in India are hiding in plain sight. They seem content with their lives and until their habitat is completely destroyed, they will continue to live undisturbed lives. Even after their habitat is completely destroyed, they will continue to live undisturbed lives ignored by the rest of the world. There are descendants of African slaves in Thane, Bombay and many more in Gujarat and the world does not even know they exist."

Link for the last claim:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/...africa_india0s_african_communities/html/1.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1035389.stm
 
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  • #9
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Yes. And from my notes, these are four related languages, not three. All from Southern India. One is called Tenkichi, another is called Bangloori amchigal, a third is called Badgichi and the fourth is Konggnnyanchi. The locals call all of them "konkani" or "marathi" even though konkani in fact is spoken by people from Goa. The Goan konkani people are Christians from the old Portuguese colony whereas these four groups are Hindu from Southern India and completely different. Marathi is spoken by people from Maharashtra, which is in Western India, and they are a completely different group too.

Why do you call these groups "unnamed" when you refer to them by name? The link in another post has pictures of "uncontacted" groups. So I guess I'm a little confused by what you mean by "unnamed" and "uncontacted". There are isolated groups of undocumented people living all over the world including in the large cities of the USA and other countries.
 
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  • #10
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Why do you call these groups "unnamed" when you refer to them by name? The link in another post has pictures of "uncontacted" groups. So I guess I'm a little confused by what you mean by "unnamed" and "uncontacted". There are isolated groups of undocumented people living all over the world including in the large cities of the USA and other countries.

The names Tenkichi, Bangloori amchigal, Badgichi and Konggnnyanchi are what the groups call themselves. These names are not known to anyone outside their group. Outsiders mistake them as Marathi or Konkani - which are two separate groups of people with separate cultures and separate histories.

I agree with you when you say that there are undocumented people living all over the world including in the large cities of the USA. But the group in Brazil that was just discovered has had no contact with the rest of humanity.
 

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