As the ancient Kusunda culture slowly disappears, linguists from all over the world are working to document the language of Nepal’s smallest ethnic group.
The Kusunda, or Ban Rajas (Kings of the Forest), were formerly a nomadic jungle tribe from central and southwestern Nepal. Widespread deforestation forced the tribal population to fragment into various bands. A lack of potential marriage partners necessitated extensive intermarriage with various ethnic groups.
Now the Kusunda culture, traditions, and language are on the verge of disappearing.
To document the language, linguists are sketching out its grammar and vocabulary, or lexicon, with the help of the endangered language’s only remaining fluent speaker, 75-year-old Gyani Maiya Sen. More.