Friday, February 15, 2008

So long Eyak, we hardly knew ye

Marie Smith, the last speaker of the Eyak language died on January 21. She was 89.
her Eyak name was Udachkuqax*a'a'ch which meant a sound that calls people from afar.

A soft and treacherous spot in the ice was called demexch, bad place to walk but maybe a good place to fish.

There were 38 native speakers of Eyak in 1933, but after her sister died in the 1990's Marie was the only one left.

See the full article at the Economist:
http://www.economist.com/obituary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10640514

2 comments:

Brett said...

Ironic that she was given that name. In a way it predicted that she would be the last to speak the language.

I wish I was 10 years old again. The world was a lot more mysterious and interesting to me then. It seems like it just keeps getting to be smaller and smaller... and less mysterious and interesting.

csproat said...

Really?...I feel a hell of a lot dumber than I did when I was a kid....but I still find interesting stuff.....not as frequently as I did as a kid, but every once in a while.....which makes it fun to wait and watch ...