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36 languages in Arunachal facing extinction

By Correspondent

ITANAGAR, Nov 17 � Arunachal Pradesh � which boasts of 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub-tribes � is on the brink of losing as many as 36 major and small languages unless the government initiates preemptive steps.

Of the 196 languages listed as endangered by UNESCO last year, 36 of them are tribal languages of Arunachal Pradesh. Corroborating the World body�s findings, the Foundation for Endangered Languages and the Central Institute of Indian Languages also pointed that the Northeastern hilly State�s tribal languages, including Koro, Miji, Nah, Bugun, Meyor, Tangam and Puroik, are facing the threat of extinction.

The worrisome news came to the fore at a workshop on �Status of unwritten and endangered languages of Arunachal Pradesh� at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) near here on Monday. The three-day workshop was organised by the Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS), RGU in collaboration with the Guwahati-based North East Regional Centre of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA).

State�s Finance & IPR Minister Setong Sena said, �Time has come that we should do something by using the platforms of village panchayats, schools and legislature, and empower ourselves to identify the endangered languages and act accordingly for their preservation.�

The Minister further called upon the academicians, linguists and intelligentsia to make concerted efforts for proper documentation and preservation of all the tribal languages, including those facing the threat of extinction.

�If a language of a community dies, many things, including values of that community will disappear for ever,� he commented and added, �We must preserve our cultural inheritance, including oral languages, at all costs.�

�Only building of good-looking infrastructure and getting white-coloured jobs does not suffice real development�.we (the govt) must take the initiative to come up with a legislation to have our own language policy and introduce local languages teaching in primary and even in middle school level,� said the Minister.

Prof J P Tamuli, the key resource person, pointed out that the vulnerability of tribal languages in North East, including Arunachal, were due to homogenisation of languages, unwritten languages and bigger languages having dominating influence on small ones. Another area that remains grim is that when our oral languages do not percolate down to the younger generations. �A language is the mirror of a community and we can�t afford to lose our oral traditions�we must preserve them,� said Prof Tamuli, a linguist from Gauhati University.

Former VC of RGU, Prof A C Bhagawati informed that a 13-member High Powered Committee under the directive of PMO has been formed which is going to take up a novel project � of developing a �word museum� with archival materials from the North East, including Arunachal�s log drum, at the National Museum in Delhi very soon.

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36 languages in Arunachal facing extinction

ITANAGAR, Nov 17 � Arunachal Pradesh � which boasts of 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub-tribes � is on the brink of losing as many as 36 major and small languages unless the government initiates preemptive steps.

Of the 196 languages listed as endangered by UNESCO last year, 36 of them are tribal languages of Arunachal Pradesh. Corroborating the World body�s findings, the Foundation for Endangered Languages and the Central Institute of Indian Languages also pointed that the Northeastern hilly State�s tribal languages, including Koro, Miji, Nah, Bugun, Meyor, Tangam and Puroik, are facing the threat of extinction.

The worrisome news came to the fore at a workshop on �Status of unwritten and endangered languages of Arunachal Pradesh� at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) near here on Monday. The three-day workshop was organised by the Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS), RGU in collaboration with the Guwahati-based North East Regional Centre of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA).

State�s Finance & IPR Minister Setong Sena said, �Time has come that we should do something by using the platforms of village panchayats, schools and legislature, and empower ourselves to identify the endangered languages and act accordingly for their preservation.�

The Minister further called upon the academicians, linguists and intelligentsia to make concerted efforts for proper documentation and preservation of all the tribal languages, including those facing the threat of extinction.

�If a language of a community dies, many things, including values of that community will disappear for ever,� he commented and added, �We must preserve our cultural inheritance, including oral languages, at all costs.�

�Only building of good-looking infrastructure and getting white-coloured jobs does not suffice real development�.we (the govt) must take the initiative to come up with a legislation to have our own language policy and introduce local languages teaching in primary and even in middle school level,� said the Minister.

Prof J P Tamuli, the key resource person, pointed out that the vulnerability of tribal languages in North East, including Arunachal, were due to homogenisation of languages, unwritten languages and bigger languages having dominating influence on small ones. Another area that remains grim is that when our oral languages do not percolate down to the younger generations. �A language is the mirror of a community and we can�t afford to lose our oral traditions�we must preserve them,� said Prof Tamuli, a linguist from Gauhati University.

Former VC of RGU, Prof A C Bhagawati informed that a 13-member High Powered Committee under the directive of PMO has been formed which is going to take up a novel project � of developing a �word museum� with archival materials from the North East, including Arunachal�s log drum, at the National Museum in Delhi very soon.