Jedek-A Malaysian language with 280 speakers discovered

  • A team of researchers from Sweden’s Lund University has discovered a Malaysian language that is spoken by just 280 people. 
  • The newly discovered ‘Jedek’ language is spoken by the group of tribes in the northern state of Kelantan in Malaysia. 
  • Jedek is a an Aslian language. Aslian languages are spoken by around 14 small groups of Orang Asli, or aboriginal people, around the Malay Peninsula, totaling around an estimated 50,000 speakers in all. 
  • The discovery of Jedek was made while the linguists were studying the Jahai language in the same area.
  • The community in which Jedek is spoken is more gender-equal, there is almost no interpersonal violence, they consciously encourage their children not to compete, and there are no laws or courts, said the researchers. 
  • According to an UNESCO estimate, about 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. Linguists believe that about half of the world’s languages will be extinct 100 years from now.

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