Carmel O’Shannessy, a linguist at the University of Michigan, discovered a new language spoken by people in a remote village in Australia. The new language is called Warlpiri rampaku, or Light Warlpiri. It is spoken by people aged under 35 living in a remote village, Lajamanu, in Australia’s Northern Territory.
There are 700 people living in Lajamanu and around 350 people have the newly found language as mother tongue. Walpiri is an aboriginal language which is no way related to English.
The researcher has been studying the young people’s speech for more than a decade. His conclusion is that they speak neither a dialect nor the mixture of languages called a creole, but a new language with unique grammatical rules.
The people of Lajamanu speaks pure Walpiri language. This language is also familiar to nearly 4000 people living in nearby villages. In fact English based Kriol language, developed in 19th century, is the widely spoken language in Northern Territory.
People in Lajamanu often engage in what linguists call code-switching, mixing languages together or changing from one to another as they speak. And many words in Light Warlpiri are derived from English or Kriol.
But Light Warlpiri is not simply a combination of words from different languages. Peter Bakker, an associate professor of linguistics at Aarhus University in Denmark who has published widely on language development, says Light Warlpiri cannot be a pidgin because a pidgin has no native speakers. Nor can it be a creole, because a creole is a new language that combines two separate tongues. So, according to him Light Warlpiri is clearly a mother tongue.