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NBT to work for reviving dying NE languages

Aug 9, 2015

Guwahati: The National Book Trust would make a concerted effort to revive languages of the northeast that are facing the threat of extinction, said newly-appointed director of the organization and noted writer Rita Choudhury on Saturday.

On the measures planned by NBT to save NE languages that are dying, the director said NBT would lay emphasis on it on the basis of priority after carefully considering all factors.

UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger has listed more than five NE languages as vulnerable, definitely endangered, severely endangered, critically endangered and extinct. 

Unesco's list is based on the extent of endangerment and on intergenerational language transmission.

A language is vulnerable when it is spoken mostly by children but only at their homes. It is endangered when it no longer enjoys the status of mother tongue. It is severely endangered if it is only spoken by elder generations. Critically endangered means the usage of the language is restricted to elder generations and even they speak it infrequently.

As per its update in June, Bishnupriya Manipuri language has been listed as vulnerable. Some other languages that featured in the atlas are Tai Phake marked as endangered, Adi and Galo listed as vulnerable, Pasi as definitely endangered, Ahom as extinct, Ao as vulnerable and Hmar also as vulnerable. The Sahitya Akademi awardee writer said stress should be laid on folk tales and oral traditions in some of the indigenous languages.

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