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Ancient tribal language becomes extinct as last speaker dies

February 4, 2010

The last speaker of an ancient tribal language has died in the Andaman Islands, breaking a 65,000-year link to one of the world’s oldest cultures.

Boa Sr, who lived through the 2004 tsunami, the Japanese occupation and diseases brought by British settlers, was the last native of the island chain who was fluent in Bo.

Taking its name from a now-extinct tribe, Bo is one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages, which are thought to date back to pre-Neolithic human settlement of south-east Asia.

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