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Linguistic Archaeology: Tracking Down the Tasaday Language

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Title: Linguistic Archaeology: Tracking Down the Tasaday Language
Authors: Reid, Lawrence A.
LC Subject Headings: Historical linguistics
Linguistic paleontology
Oral tradition
Tasaday (Philippine people)
Issue Date: 1997
Citation: Reid, Lawrence. "Linguistic Archaeology: Tracking Down the Tasaday Language." In Archaeology and Language 1: Theoretical and Methodological Orientations, edited by Roger Blench and Matthew Spriggs, 184-208. London and New York: Routledge, 1997.
Abstract: In July 1971 a report by Manuel Elizalde Jr., then Presidential Assistant on National Minorities in the Philippines (Elizalde and Fox 1971) to the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Short-Lived Phenomena from Southern Cotabato, Mindanao in the Philippines, informed the world of a small, isolated group of hunter-gatherers supposedly living in caves in the rain forests of southern Mindanao in the Philippines. The Tasaday, when first contacted by the PANAMIN group, supposedly spoke a language considerably different from either the Manobo or Tboli dialects spoken in Blit and the surrounding areas, although comparison of word lists taken by linguists and anthropologists soon revealed that the language spoken by the Tasaday was far more similar to the Manobo spoken in Blit than it was to Tboli. After the initial flurry of news reports, documentaries, and some preliminary investigative work by various scientists, including linguists, anthropologists, a botanist, a sociologist, etc., and the establishment by the Marcos government of a 19,000-hectare reservation in 1972 to protect the rain forest surrounding the Tasaday caves from the incursions of several logging companies, the Tasaday were left to resume their chosen way of life. In 1974, visitors were prohibited from entering the reservation without special permit, and for the next twelve years nothing more was heard of the Tasaday.
Pages/Duration: 30 pages
Appears in Collections:Lawrence A. Reid: Articles, Monographs, Book Chapters

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