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Published on Jul 22, 2010
Dote Te: Requiem for a Language is a short study of the woman who, in 2005, was the last known speaker of Berbice Dutch Creole. This language used to be widely spoken in the former Dutch colony of Berbice, part of what is now Guyana. Albertha Bell (d. 2005) was 103 years old when interviewed by Ian Robertson and a UWI linguistics research team in March 2004. As he called the names of those people who used to speak the language, she replied with dirge like monotony, 'Dote te' -- 'Dead', hence the title, Requiem for a Language. This video is approximately nine and a half minutes (9:58) long . The narrative incorrectly states that 'dote' meaning 'dead' is of Eastern Ijo origin. According to Silvia Kouwenberg, an expert on this language, it originates from the Dutch word 'doto'.