Ona language

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Ona
Selk'nam
Native to Argentina
Region Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego.
Ethnicity Selknam
Native speakers
2  (2014)[1]
Probably no remaining speakers (Adelaar 2000).
Chonan
  • Chon proper
    • Island Chon
      • Ona
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ona
Glottolog onaa1245[2]

Ona (Aona), also known as Selk'nam (Shelknam), is a language that is spoken by the Selknam people in Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego in southernmost South America.

Part of the Chonan languages of Patagonia, Selk'nam is almost extinct, due both to the late 19th-century Selknam Genocide by European immigrants, high fatalities due to disease, and disruption of traditional society. One source states that the last fluent native speakers died in the 1980s,[3]:92 but another claims that two speakers had survived into 2014.[1]

History[edit]

Julius Popper during a hunt of the Ona people. In the late 19th century, estancieros and gold prospectors launched a campaign of extermination against the indigenous peoples of Tierra del Fuego.
Selknam children, 1898

The Selk'nam people, also known as the 'Ona, were an indigenous people who inhabited the northeastern part of the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. They were nomads known as "foot-people," as they did their hunting on land, rather than being seafarers.

The last full-blooded Selk'nam, Ángela Loij, died in 1974. They were one of the last aboriginal groups in South America to be reached by Europeans. Their language, believed to be part of the Chonan family, is considered extinct as the last speakers died in the 1980s.

Grammar[edit]

The Ona language is an Object–verb–subject language.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rojas, Luis (2014). A Heritage Reference Grammar of Selk'nam. Manuscript.
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Ona". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Adelaar, Willem (2010). "South America". In Christopher (ed.), Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, 3rd Edition. UNESCO. pp. 86-94.
  4. ^ Najlis, Elena (1973). Lengua selknam. Buenos Aires: Universidad de Salvador. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]