25th Feb 2017 10:02:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Arunachal is at a crossroad—even as the impediment for this tribal state has been the lack of a lingua franca an even greater challenge is that majority of its languages have fallen to disuse and on the brink of extinction. As many as 82 tribal languages spoken in the state are on the verge of becoming extinct according to a survey.

According to the 2009 UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in danger data, 26 languages of Arunachal Pradesh have been identified as endangered. In the list, smaller communities like Meyor and Bugun face the biggest threat. Even languages of largely populated tribal groups like Adi, Galo and Nyishi have been categorized as unsafe by UNESCO.

As the world turns increasingly globalised, it is impossible to thwart the penetration of world languages. The advent of English and Hindi has become a prerequisite for a better life and inclusion into mainstream society. Arunachal not having a common language of its own, has taken to Hindi like ‘fish to water’ and the prevalence of Hindi in the frontier state has shocked the best of Hindi speakers from across the country. However, on the flipside, the youth of today are increasingly wandering away from their mothertongue and at this rate there might not be any takers for native tongues in the near future.

The process of extinction of languages is neither inevitable nor irreversible; however well planned and implemented language policies can bolster the ongoing efforts of speaker communities to maintain or revitalize their mothertongues and pass them on to younger generations. Firstly, focus must be on including local languages in school curriculum. This way the young generation can connect to the past history. Secondly, parents must encourage their children to speak in their mother tongue at home. Thirdly, scientific documentation of languages must be taken up in right earnest to arrest it from disappearing. This will contribute in promotion of tribal languages for posterity and most importantly, vernacular newspapers and periodicals must be encouraged to take wings.

There is also the need for change in perception. As proud as we are to learn and master Hindi and English; equal if not more prestige must be attached towards command over our own native languages.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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