|From:||John Quijada <jq_ithkuil@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, August 4, 2004, 20:28|
Philippe Caquant wrote:
>being a sceptic by nature, I
>couldn't help thinking : what if that overfamous last
>Ubykh speaker was kind of a humorist, and decided to
>invent lot of features that never existed in Ubykh ?
>Just in order to make fun of the linguists ? He
>certainly couldn't invent everything; perhaps there
>were only 50 or 60 consonants in Ubykh and he invented
>20 or 30 more to make the whole thing more sexy ? As
>no one else could claim to master the language, he had
>the nice role.
>Well, that's only an idea I had, I won't affirm that
>this goold old Tawfik actually did so. But I swear
>that if I had been in his position, I certainly would
>have ! And I would laugh in my grave for eternity.__________________________
Yeah, it would be an interesting position to be in, to be the last speaker
of a language, like the old lady in British Columbia who died just a few
years ago who was the last speaker of Eyak. It even sounds like an idea
for a game for this group: What "exotic" features about your language
would you make up for alien xeno-anthropologists who visit Earth after some
nuclear or biological holocaust to find you as the last living human being?
In regard to Ubykh, documentation on this language, AFAIK, goes back to the
1920's or 30's with the work of the French anthropologist Doumezil, when
there were still tens of speakers left (his work spells it Oubykh, of
course). There is lots of untranslated field work on Ubykh by Georgian
linguists from the 1950's and 60's, too, I believe. Even the later work in
the 1970's by Hewett (which I believe is the basis for the chapter on
Caucasian languages in Bernard Comrie's 1981 book) was done when there were
four Ubykh speakers still alive.