Dictionary.com

An unknown language was recently discovered ― what’s its name and where was it found?

What is newly-discovered language called?Arunachal Pradesh is a state in the far northeast corner of India. It shares a border with Burma, Bhutan, and China. In the state there’s a district called East Kameng, a community of villages that have had few interactions with the outside world. And in that community, there are several thousand people who speak a language called Aka.

Within the community of Aka speakers, however, there’s an even smaller community who speak a language that until very recently was unknown to the scientific world.

It’s called Koro. Only 800 to 1200 people speak the language.

Koro is not a dialect of Aka. It is entirely its own language.

Koro belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family, which is a collection of 400 languages used by people across Asia.

The Koro “discovery” was made by two National Geographic fellows, who traveled to the remote villages on a hunch that it was an area of great language diversity. They have yet to uncover how old the language is. They are also unsure about how it developed.

The opportunity for research is closing. It’s believed that Koro could soon be extinct. Few people who are under the age of 20 speak the language. Young people are choosing to communicate in Hindi, the predominant language of North India.

On the topic of rare findings: a so-called ”Asian unicorn” was recently captured. What’s its real name, and where was it found? Read about that here.

46 Comments

  1. amazayn_gurl -  May 19, 2013 - 2:19 pm

    This is soo interesting! It sounds like a good unknown language for this book I’m writing.

    Reply
  2. Vindu -  January 23, 2012 - 12:54 pm

    Hi @superman Conserving a lang is good but perhaps not great or we’ll not give rise to new ones (of anything & everything).

    Let don’t be so much attached to the old–let go.

    Also to Slushie Koro needn’t need to be hard or such… it is the opportunity, perhaps, in today’s day and age to sustain to move on. Speaking Hindi gives one more of that.

    Thank you

    Reply
  3. Anna G -  November 27, 2010 - 6:21 pm

    How cool! I love languages and now I want to learn Koro, too.

    @ Tas

    Your comment made me laugh. :)

    Reply
  4. Shersingh Baghel -  October 24, 2010 - 9:17 am

    Hi i’m from India. i’m felling proud to know this. Hope the team will be able to preserve the language…

    Reply
  5. Tas -  October 18, 2010 - 6:02 am

    Whoops. I meant Aka.

    Reply
  6. Tas -  October 18, 2010 - 6:00 am

    They’re probably just speaking Hindi or Koro in pig latin. It’ll be years before the researchers catch on. Mwahaha.

    Reply
  7. Kelsey -  October 15, 2010 - 12:23 am

    The article says that the opportunity for research is closing…I know some people think it would be too much work to try and preserve it, but I truly think something should be done in order to try and preserve this rare language. I know it seems pointless from the outside looking in, but imagine if it was your language. The American language has lost all of its flavor over time and many wish it was back to the way it used to be. Now imagine if our language was gone all together. I think the men from National Geographic got their hunch for a reason and I really hope they further their investigation.

    Reply
  8. Angela Mercado -  October 14, 2010 - 6:21 pm

    it sounds really cool and fascinating as well. Now i want to learn a new laungauge :)

    Reply
  9. Papa Panda -  October 14, 2010 - 5:10 pm

    Well at least the English language won’t die out for some VERY, VERY LONG time.

    Reply
  10. pielover -  October 14, 2010 - 1:35 pm

    that langenge shall not be for gotten when i’m around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i’m SO going to learn that langenge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )=)whatch out pielover is coming!!!!!! just hang in there!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  11. louis paiz -  October 14, 2010 - 5:35 am

    when languages disapear so the ideas that have been transfer way of mouth from generatios to generation that treasure can never be recuperate . thank you very much.

    Reply
  12. sweetheart -  October 13, 2010 - 9:35 pm

    thats kwl i want to learn it!!!

    Reply
  13. kitigan -  October 13, 2010 - 8:33 pm

    There’s a fairly new language spoken by about 100 people in a section of Montreal, Canada. I don’t know what it’s called. It’s made up of bits and pieces of Michif (spoken by the Métis), French, Italian and English. I don’t think National Geographic discovered it yet.

    Reply
  14. person -  October 13, 2010 - 8:41 am

    It’s part of the evolution of language that languages die out. They usually do for functional reasons, too. A lot of people don’t know that vikings lived in the Northeast part of England for a long time back in the 8-11th centuries. By the time of the Norman Conquest, Norse had fizzled out. This was largely because the Anglo-Saxons and the vikings had to communicate with each other, for business and other reasons too, so their language morphed into the similar language of the Anglo-Saxons, Old English.

    The idea of trying to conserve a language and keep it from dying out is more or less a waste of time. You can transcribe the words and record the pronunciation and the syntax, but that’s about all you can do. Then you just have records of it so people can study it for one reason or another in the future. There are over 6,000 languages in the world today, and less than half are even written. Many more have become extinct or evolved into other languages.

    Reply
  15. tc -  October 12, 2010 - 1:20 pm

    only 800 people speak it? wow. it seems like a cool language.

    Reply
  16. Btjie -  October 12, 2010 - 7:31 am

    Incredible. Hard to imagine that this could really be happening anywhere in the world… Hope the new exposure will help keep the language alive. Losing a language is a tragedy as it is like the brilliant gem of any culture.

    Reply
  17. Joel Mathias -  October 9, 2010 - 8:35 pm

    Save The people…Save the language and save the Race!!! The3Principles!!!
    And many

    NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO…
    NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO…
    NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO…

    Whit Love!!!

    Reply
  18. AKA | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  October 8, 2010 - 7:26 am

    [...] Someplace Else, Also Known As “KORO” — is any different language where our ignorance is to beg or steal or borrow — something else we don’t understand in our Alien Nation — Open up Macdonalds without further hesitation. — After a Big Mac or two they’ll no longer need the method of speaking around the children when they don’t want them to know — what it is they’re saying when they move their lips — ala Edgar Burman, Charlie McCarthy and technical support for Hostday/Well — when the call is transferred from Bulgaria to Tibeto. –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply
  19. KStil -  October 8, 2010 - 5:16 am

    Very reminiscent of the current language crisis here in North America: All the Native Americans in the land under twenty have learned to communicate in English, but rarely go to the “trouble” to learn the language of their ancestors from their elders, unfortunately. It’s a situation where, the language is dying out so fast, we can’t react well enough to preserve it. Thanks for sharing this discovery, though, and I wish the best for the Koro language and the National Geographic fellows who discovered it.

    Reply
  20. alorah -  October 8, 2010 - 1:11 am

    I really want to know more about “koro” sounds very interesting…
    Maybe people will learn more about other languages someday…

    Reply
  21. james -  October 7, 2010 - 7:49 pm

    youd think that we’d found every type of language by now… i wonder what else we still havnet found. neato.

    Reply
  22. ms.karma -  October 7, 2010 - 7:44 pm

    yeah!

    marami ako’ng natututunan dito sa dictionary.com. salamat sa mga blogs na puno ng kaalaman.

    and in this ‘unknown language’ blog, it’s very interesting!

    lavet! :P

    ‘-=_:K:_=-’

    Reply
  23. JC -  October 7, 2010 - 5:44 pm

    @ ;) ma quanto sei stronzo per usare la lingua cattiva durant un discorso cosi’ interessante? Vai a fare in culo. Have a nice day!

    Reply
  24. JC -  October 7, 2010 - 5:37 pm

    @Slushie

    People don’t “bother” to learn their own native languages because they are difficult or not. It depends on what they are exposed to during childhood. If Hindi is the language of wider communication and almost no children are learning Koro this is one of the reasons it is endangered.

    Reply
  25. David E. -  October 7, 2010 - 4:27 pm

    Remember when Bo died out?

    Reply
  26. Curly Hair -  October 7, 2010 - 4:24 pm

    @mark V: Those aren’t their own languages. They are a twisted form of English.

    Reply
  27. AvidReader -  October 7, 2010 - 4:17 pm

    It makes you think about how many other languages there are out there… and how many are extinct. It makes me sad to think that anything is close to being extinct, even languages :(

    Reply
  28. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  October 7, 2010 - 4:09 pm

    Deciphering this is going to be as easy as deciphering Greek– literally– Words like phu:nggo::(Aka:Koro) are practically like Poseiden:Enesidon….

    Ray.

    Reply
  29. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  October 7, 2010 - 3:59 pm

    The “Koro_(tribe)” must have packed-up and moved to North Carolina where they took the tribal name, Tuscarora (“hemp gatherers”), Then, after the Tuscarora War 1711-1715, they mostly moved to New York… (Doesn’t look quite right, but that’s what dictionary.com turned up.)

    Koro-pok-guru, also written koropokkuru, korobokkuru, or koropokkur, are a race of small people in Ainu folklore. The name is traditionally analysed as a tripartite compound of kor or koro (“butterbur plant”), pok (“under, below”), and kur or kuru (“man, husband, person”) and interpreted to mean “people below the leaves of the butterbur plant” in the Ainu language….

    This is a little better for a dictionary.com search on Koro but it looks like a memory of Sumerian: Ainu cf Anu, Kur, guru, pok cf pak…. by the Sakhalin Japanese whose word for divine beings, kamui, is almost certain Sumero-Egyptian, K’Amu(n)-I, THE-Amun-[peoples/group/inclusion/category] who were the greater-gods who lived 9000-years, cf the great Council the Ogdoad not the lesser Council Ennead of mostly-the-lesser 900-year gods.

    But…that’s the new-Koro we’re discussing….

    Ray.

    Reply
  30. ;) -  October 7, 2010 - 2:53 pm

    E sukare il pene.

    Reply
  31. mark V -  October 7, 2010 - 2:31 pm

    Just think of all the siblings who made up their own language so they could talk behind their pants backs, those languages are extinct now too, and were never documented.

    Reply
  32. Slushie -  October 7, 2010 - 2:10 pm

    Koro would probably be a hard language because only a few hundred people bother to speak it, choosing instead to speak in Hindi, which is much easier.

    Reply
  33. Ajay chaurasia -  October 7, 2010 - 2:04 pm

    Great web site

    Reply
  34. Alicia -  October 7, 2010 - 1:52 pm

    Amazing. I wonder how many other languages lie undiscovered, hidden in remote corners of the world where no one has bothered, or dared, to look. I find it sad that this language may die out, though. I hope that people do something to stop it, and I would actually love to learn it myself.

    Reply
  35. louis paiz -  October 7, 2010 - 1:39 pm

    i would like to have a sample of the letters or signs that that language is formed can you give us a clue do they use fonetics the way we do is it a mixture of what please advise i am curious. thanks and congratulations in keepping us well informed.

    Reply
  36. kawther hadj mbarek -  October 7, 2010 - 1:12 pm

    If this language has just been discovered so God knows how many others are still unknown!

    Reply
  37. Star -  October 7, 2010 - 1:06 pm

    this is super awesome. Can’t be too small of a world if an entire language is overlooked for so long. Perhaps they can work to preserve Koro and perhaps some of the young people of their culture can be encouraged to speak it as a second language at the least. If NatGeo can get involved maybe they can help the local population get an education program for the Koro language in place that could be taught by those who speak the language. It would also provide opportunity to spread the language to other Hindi speakers who might have an interest or even other people from the other surrounding nations even. This language doesn’t have to die, sadly most of the time that is the outcome in these scenarios. Let’s hope for better things :)

    Reply
  38. Bob -  October 7, 2010 - 12:23 pm

    Closer to the English speaking world, 4 languages have gone extinct in the British Isles in a little over 200 years – Cornish (Bretonic Celtic language in Cornwall), Norn (Norse language in Orkney and Shetland Islands), Yola (Anglo-Saxon language in County Wexford)and Manx (Gaelic language on Isle of Man). Irish and Scots Gaelic are the next ones in danger of dying out, so if anyone wants to help save them, knock yourselves out!!

    Reply
  39. luvmykids -  October 7, 2010 - 12:04 pm

    Amazing. Dictionarycom u amaze me with real intersting stuff and good stuff every day. How exciting it is to learn something new everyday.

    Reply
  40. Clare -  October 7, 2010 - 11:42 am

    Never knew there where still languages no one ever heard of ’til now. Pretty neat. I kind of want to learn it now.

    Reply
  41. Michael B. -  October 7, 2010 - 11:37 am

    This is a great find! I’ve always been fascinated with languages, ever since middle school. I’d be curious as to what this sounds like, did they take any footage or audio samples?

    As for leaning it? No so sure I’d want to, though maybe it’ll be as interesting as Latin albeit not as important.

    Reply
  42. superman -  October 7, 2010 - 11:32 am

    its really interesting that our world is basically becoming one through glaoblization or factors that affect it.anyway my thoughts on this is that national geography has achieved one of the greatest things regarding this language and please please try to conserve it as much as you can.

    Reply
  43. Nathan -  October 7, 2010 - 10:54 am

    That’s really cool. I’m not really suprised Koro’s probably going to go extinct though.

    Reply
  44. The all american girl-next-door!!! -  October 7, 2010 - 10:50 am

    Wow this is so amazing!!! I want to travel there and learn the language……I hope it won’t be hard.

    Reply

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