Press Esc to close
Thursday 25 August 2016
News updated at 3:07 PM IST
Weather
Max: 29.3°C
Min : 20.8°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Dying tongues

Sep 12, 2013 :

A recent study on the status of languages in the country has reported the obituary of many of them and the near disappearance of many others from common use.

A language research centre based in Gujarat which made an exhaustive four-year survey all over the world has found that the number of languages used for active communication has declined drastically in the last 50 years. India was once rich with the diversity of its numerous languages and dialects across the country but a large number of them have gone silent. If 1100 languages were spoken in the country in 1961 there are only 880 recognisable ones now. This is more than the 122 languages enumerated by the 2001 census but include some spoken by just a few hundred people. One is spoken by just four persons. It is clear that they will not survive for many years.

Languages are expressions of culture and repositories of historical experience. It is said that every language is a window to the world and an attempt to understand it. It is also a marker of a specific identity, in geographical, ethnic and other terms. The spreading tide of uniformity is sweeping many of them into history and once a language is lost, it is almost irretrievable. Most nomadic people have lost their languages.

Displacement of populations and integration of many communities into larger ones are among the reasons. Some speakers are also embarrassed about their less developed mother tongues and stop using them. Many of these languages which do not have their own scripts, are not useful to the speakers in dealing with the world. The younger generation abandons them with the spread of modern education in English and regional languages. They become victims of the national and global trends in education, communication and culture.

There is no policy for conservation of languages except sporadic efforts at the level of individuals or small groups and organizations. Preserving them in books does not help because a language is dead when it is not spoken. The fate of many languages has a telling similarity with the extinction of many biological species which find it difficult to survive in an adverse environment of competition. Those with only oral traditions may not be heard at all in the coming years. Others with some literary heritage may not disappear very soon. But the outlook is gloomy for most languages.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A view of lighting at Sri Krishna Janamsthan temple during Sri Krishna Janmashtami festiva...

A view of lighting at Sri Krishna Janamsthan temple during Sri Krishna Janmashtami festiva...

Muslim women carrying their children dressed up as Lord Krishna and Radha for a program...

Muslim women carrying their children dressed up as Lord Krishna and Radha for a program...

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha at a press conference to promote her upcoming film in Jaipur...

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha at a press conference to promote her upcoming film in Jaipur...

A view of submerged temples in the flood waters of River Yamuna in Allahabad...

A view of submerged temples in the flood waters of River Yamuna in Allahabad...

Nuns distribute relief material to flood hit peoples at a camp in Allahabad...

Nuns distribute relief material to flood hit peoples at a camp in Allahabad...

A sand art of Lord Krishna made by Sand Artist Sudarshan Patnaik ahead of Krishna Janmashtami...

A sand art of Lord Krishna made by Sand Artist Sudarshan Patnaik ahead of Krishna Janmashtami...

A child dresses as lord Krishna for a school function ahead of Janmashtami, in Bikaner...

A child dresses as lord Krishna for a school function ahead of Janmashtami, in Bikaner...

The launch of Entrepreneurship Summit at IT Decode Park in Hyderabad...

The launch of Entrepreneurship Summit at IT Decode Park in Hyderabad...

Horses undergoing exercise and training by handlers at Race Course in Bengaluru...

Horses undergoing exercise and training by handlers at Race Course in Bengaluru...

A child plays in front of idols of Lord Ganesha ahead of Ganesh festival ...

A child plays in front of idols of Lord Ganesha ahead of Ganesh festival ...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523