December 20th, 2011

Yuchi Language Will Return

In the last sixty years no Yuchi child has been punished for speaking Yuchi in school.  This is because for the last sixty years no Yuchi child has been able to speak the language of her or his people.  This year a Yuchi child was censured by her teacher for speaking her native language.  It was a cause of rejoicing for the people.

The Yuchi language is an isolate, it has no known relationship to any other known human language.  Most languages are related to dozens or hundreds of other languages which originated from a single source a thousand or more years ago.  (the Indo-European languages were one language about 7000 years ago).  An isolate could never be reconstructed from a knowledge of linguistics or from comparison to other languages.  There are five fluent native speakers of Yuchi, all are in their 70s and 80s.  Yuchi is one of those languages that have a "male" and "female" version.  Only a male can teach other males to speak the "male" version of the language.  Only one of the fluent elders is male.

These five elders have dedicated their remaining years to passing on the language and its use is spreading! 

The article is very brief but very informative.  Google "cultural survival quarterly," click "back issues," click "35-4 Winter 2011,"
click "expand,"  go to pp. 26-27, Click third symbol "large book?" from left to magnify, click second symbol ("circle") to focus, move cursor to read.