Language family: Indo-Pacific

Geographical use: on an island group in the Andaman See (Bengali Gulf)

Information: There are only a few hundred speakers left.

In 2012 a book was published about the language and bird knowledge of the Andamese: Ethno Ornithology: Birds of the Great Andamanese, by Pune-based ornithologist, Satish Pande.

Pande told the web site aily News and Analysis, “The Great Andamanese community harmoniously co-existed with nature on a small island for thousands of years. Sadly, they are on the brink of extinction. Our analysis of Great Andamanese knowledge about birds indicates that it correlates remarkably well with our present day ornithological understanding. The ethno-ornithological classification and modern zoological taxonomy show high level of correspondence at folk generic level.”

“Since Great Andamanese were isolated for over 70,000 years from society, we get here a unique opportunity of understanding how human beings think when isolated from the remaining world,” he added.

The book presents all the avian families, genera and species recognised by the Great Andamanese people and the current conservation status, threats and distribution of avian species, endemic to the region. Local names of a variety of birds in their language have been mapped with scientific names for the first time in the ethno-biological history.