Tags: jedek | language | malaysia

Jedek Language: Malaysia Researchers Discover New Tongue

A Malaysian village's Jedek language was previously unknown. (YouTube/Lund University)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 February 2018 04:04 PM

A previously unknown language called Jedek has been discovered in Malaysia during a language documentation project studying the Jahai language in the same area. 

Researchers realized a number of villagers spoke a different language from the one they were studying, and found that about 280 people from northern Peninsular Malaysia spoke the Jedek language, Science Daily reported.

An unusual aspect of the discovery is that Jedek is unlike other languages from the surrounding area and is more similar to languages spoken some distance away. The community of Jedek-speakers seemed to be gender-equal, with encouragement not to compete, no laws or courts, and little to no interpersonal violence. Everyone is taught the skills for hunting and gathering rather than different professions, Science Daily reported. 

The Jedek-speaking community now lives in a resettlement area in northern Malaysia but used to forage along the Pergau River, NPR reported. The village where they live was studied by anthropologists previously, but the language was not noticed at that time.

“As linguists, we had a different set of questions and found something that the anthropologists missed,” Lund University researcher and linguistics professor Niclas Burenhult said in a statement, NPR reported.

While most undocumented languages are known to exist, Jedek was not known to have existed before it was discovered. 

Researchers don’t believe the language is in danger of dying out because children are still learning it, NPR reported. 

About 6,000 known languages are spoken throughout the world, with 80 percent of people speaking one of the major world languages. Scientists estimate half the world’s languages will be extinct 100 years from now.

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Researchers in Malaysia discovered a previously unknown language called Jedek during a language documentation project studying the Jahai language in the same area.
jedek, language, malaysia
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 04:04 PM
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