Ona is a Chonan language that was spoken in Tierra del Fuego, part of the Patagonia region of Argentina. The last speakers of Ona died in the 1970s or 1980s. However, Rojas Berscia, a linguist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in The Netherlands, claims that two Ona speakers surived until 2014. Ona ia also known as Aona, Choon, Selknam or Shelknam.
A dictionary of Ona was pubished by José María Beavoir, a missionary, in 1915. Further documentation of the language, including recordings, was made in the 1970s and 80s by Anne Chapman, an anthropologist.
Efforts are being made to try to revive the language. A number of Chileans have learnt or are learning the language, and are teaching it to others.
Tones are marked as follows: á = high tone, à low tone, a = middle tone.
Kìawnen mat yon.
Vuenen ikùá mak kaw.
Wikam mak warren
arwen has mèrènèn shìon.
Karten ikùakar keren makes
karpaint ikùamá anákenek.
Ikùakar hachkom kayíkùama',
mèrènèns ikùá yopenso ikùokar kayen.
Kuairen's íkarkaim son,
Source: Los Shelknam, Indígenas de la Tierra del Fuego, J.M Beauvoir, 1915.
Contributed by Wolfgang Kuhl
Information about Ona
Page last modified: 25.10.21
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