Foundation for Endangered Languages

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8. Obituary

Last fluent speaker of Lardil is no more

On 1 September 2007, Norvin Richards of the Massachusetts Institute of technology reported to David Nash in Australia:

I'm sorry to have to report that Lindsay Roughsey died, a few days before I got there (after spending months apparently unable to speak--sounded like he'd had a stroke). As far as I can tell, this means that Lardil's lost its last fully fluent speaker, though there are still the "New Lardil" speakers, of course.

Ed. note: Lardil is a language spoken on Mornington Island in the southeastern corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Austra-lia. It is a member of the Tangkic group within the vast Pama-Nyungan family. Limited written materials exist in it, for use in the local school. By 1981 possibly fifty speakers were recorded. The speakers use more English than Lardil, a tendency which has been increasing over the years because the missionaries had been dis-couraging the use of the language. Children do not know the lan-guage. I am writing to Norvin Richards for more detail.