Published September 20, 2018
This video was recorded in West-Kalimantan by Kunto Nurcahyoko and features Bedineh speakers Albina and Donawati. Bedineh is an unclassified language, meaning that very little documentation about it exists and lexical and syntactic data remain scarce. Unlike language isolates, whose fairly robust documentation allows linguists to state more confidently that an isolate is unrelated to any of the world's known languages, linguists cannot make any such claims about the relatedness (or lack thereof) between unclassified languages. This means that if more data can be collected on Bedineh, it may one day be found to share a branch with other living languages. Regardless of its status as an isolate or as occupying a branch of the linguistic Stammbaum, the classification of a language brings many benefits. Simply by receiving linguistic recognition as a language in its own right, a classified language acquires cultural significance and political weight in the international community, and is one step closer to securing language rights for its speakers. Among these include a space in schools to teach the language to others, an important avenue for linguistic vitality. This video exists as one of only a few known recordings of Bedineh. Do you speak Bedineh or have information to share about it? We'd love for you to reach out to us! No amount of information is too small.
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