A Chilean indigenous language vanishes as final native speaker dies


Cristina Calderon died on Wednesday, aged 93. She had mastered the Yamana language of the Yagan neighborhood and after the loss of life of her sister in 2003, was the final individual on the earth who might converse it. She labored to save lots of her information by making a dictionary of the language with translations to Spanish.

“Along with her an vital a part of the cultural reminiscence of our individuals is gone,” mentioned Lidia Gonzalez, Calderon’s daughter, on Twitter. Gonzalez is likely one of the representatives presently drafting a brand new structure in Chile.

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The dictionary, nevertheless, meant there was hope of preserving the language in some kind, she mentioned.

“Though together with her departure a wealth of particularly precious empirical information is misplaced in linguistic phrases, the potential for rescuing and systematizing the language stay open,” she mentioned.

Though there are nonetheless a couple of dozen Yagans left, over the generations individuals from the neighborhood stopped studying the language, which was thought of “remoted” because it was tough to find out the origin of its phrases.

Calderon lived in a easy home and made a dwelling promoting knitted socks within the Chilean city of Villa Ukika, a city created by the Yagan individuals on the outskirts of Puerto Williams.

The ancestral ethnic group used to populate the archipelagos of South America’s excessive south, now Chile and Argentina, an space which nudges in direction of the frozen Antarctic.

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