Roger Blench: Endangered languages Pacific




I have only worked on one endangered language in the Pacific, and that rather by chance. Matthew Spriggs kindly introduced me to Mr. Nelson Tevi, the last speaker of Ngasai, a language actually listed as extinct. Ngasai is [was] spoken in the northwest of Pentecost Island, part of the chain of islands that constitute Vanuatu. I was able to make some recordings with elicitation in French, but unfortunately rather unsystematic. The archive thus consists of general background photos and the videos of spoken Ngasai. Mr. Tevi explains the background to Ngasai, how it came to become virtually extinct and how he learnt it as a child.







Background photos



Ngasai language


The closest relative of Ngasai appears to be Raga, which is now the dominant language in this part of Pentecost. Notice on the Pentecost page photos of documents in the rather remarkable and apparently unreported Raga script.


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