International Mother Language Day: 42 Indian languages heading towards extinction

International Mother Language Day: 42 Indian languages heading towards extinction

International Mother Language Day is observed on February 21 every year as a day to celebrate and protect linguistic diversity and multilingualism. (Yes, it's multilingualism and NOT multilinguism).

 

HOW INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY CAME TO BE

19 years ago, the UNESCO's General Conference proclaimed February 21 as the International Mother Language Day to coincide with the Language Day Movement in Bangladesh: Bangladesh's Amar Ekushey.

 

IMPORTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY

 

The issue of language preservation rightly deserves priority as language is the most powerful instrument of communication and key in preserving and developing the tangible and intangible heritage of mankind.

 

Mother language is a prism which determines our first notions of the world and makes us feel closer to our sense of identity and cultural lineage.

 

Thus, languages are not only vital elements in our heritage but also a crucial factor in human creativity in all its diversity. When a language dies, a part of humanity dies.

42 INDIAN LANGUAGES HEADING TOWARDS EXTINCTION

 

More than 40 of our Indian languages or dialects are spoken by fewer than 10,000 people, says a new report of the Census Directorate. Hence, these are considered to be endangered, and believed to be heading towards extinction, said Home Ministry officials-- as reported by PTI.

 

A list prepared by UNESCO has also backed the report as it mentioned about these depreciating 42 languages in India.

 

Appropriately, there are 22 scheduled languages and 100 non-scheduled languages in our country, which are spoken by a large number of people-- one lakh or even more.

 

However, the scenario has clearly changed.

 

THE ENDANGERED LANGUAGES

Here is a table of the number of endangered languages with the states that they are spoken in.

 

Indian states No. of languages Endangered Languages
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 11 Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Lamongse, Luro, Muot, Onge, Pu, Sanenyo, Sentilese, Shompen and Takahanyilang
Manipur 7 Aimol, Aka, Koiren, Lamgang, Langrong, Purum and Tarao
Himachal Pradesh 4 Baghati, Handuri, Pangvali and Sirmaudi
Odisha 3 Manda, Parji and Pengo
Karnataka 2 Koraga and Kuruba
Andhra Pradesh 2 Gadaba and Naiki
Tamil Nadu 2 Kota and Toda
Arunachal Pradesh 2 Mra and Na
Assam 2 Tai Nora and Tai Rong
Uttarakhand 1 Bangani
Jharkhand 1 Birhor
Maharashtra 1 Nihali
Meghalaya 1 Ruga
West Bengal 1 Toto

 

The Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, has been working for the protection and preservation of endangered languages in India under a central scheme, said another official.

 

sources : India Today