The languages of Tasmania, very dubiously known because all the native speakers were exterminated by 1877 before there was a chance to record or study them properly.

There seem to have been four or five languages or perhaps dialects in Tasmania. They are not recorded well enough to determine whether they are related to the Australian Aboriginal languages of the mainland. Joseph Greenberg for some reason unknown to me puts them with the Papuan and Andamanese languages in a phylum he calls Indo-Pacific.

Tantalizingly, the well-known last of the Tasmanians, Truganini, exemplifies a cluster TR- which is unusual in Aboriginal languages but does occur in those of the nearest mainland, Gippsland in Victoria: cf. the town of Traralgon.

On the other hand the boatless Tasmanians were separated by Bass Strait for so long that even if their languages were related, all trace of it must have been lost by now.

Tas*ma"ni*an (?), a.

Of or pertaining to Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land. -- n. A native or inhabitant of Tasmania; specifically (Ethnol.), in the plural, the race of men that formerly inhabited Tasmania, but is now extinct.

Tasmanain cider tree. Bot. See the Note under Eucalyptus. -- Tasmanain devil. Zool. See under Devil. -- Tasmanain wolf Zool., a savage carnivorous marsupial; -- called also zebra wolf. See Zebra wolf, under Wolf.


© Webster 1913.

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