A previously unknown language has been found in the Malay Peninsula by linguists from Lund University in Sweden. The language has been given the name Jedek.

new language discovered in malaysia
The language is an Aslian variety within the Austroasiatic language family and is spoken by 280 people who are settled hunter-gatherers in northern Peninsular Malaysia.

Jedek is not a language spoken by an unknown tribe in the jungle, as you would perhaps imagine, but in a village previously studied by anthropologists. The language is spoken by 280 people who are settled hunter-gatherers in northern Peninsular Malaysia.

An estimated 6 000 languages are currently spoken in the world. About 80 per cent of the world’s population speak one of the major world languages, while approximately 20 per cent speak one of the 3 600 smaller languages. Researchers believe that about half of the world’s languages will be extinct 100 years from now.

Documentation of endangered minority languages such as Jedek is important, as it provides new insights into human cognition and culture.

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De Gruyter, Lund University

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