LINGUISTICS

New Language Found in Himalayas

A pair of linguists traveled into the Himalayas and managed to discover a new language. They unearthed the hidden tongue among a tiny set of villages composed of bamboo huts along the western ridges of Arunachal Pradesh, India's most northeastern state, where over 120 languages are spoken. They identified the language—called Koro—as part of the National Geographic's Enduring Voices project in 2008. "Their language is quite distinct on every level—the sound, the words, the sentence structure," said a project director. Koro, which is only a spoken language, belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family, a group of 400 languages that includes Tibetan and Burmese. And although there are 6,909 known languages, an estimated half are thought to vanish this century; every two weeks the last fluent speaker of a language dies.