Institute to document 77 endangered Indian languages

Institute to document 77 endangered Indian languages

It includes basic grammar, tri-lingual dictionary and folklore aspects

City-based Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), as part of its Scheme for Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages (SPPEL), has launched an initiative to document 77 languages from the current year.

The objective is to come up with works related to basic grammar of identified languages, write a tri-lingual dictionary on words used, and aspects of folklore of the same.

The languages identified have less than 10,000 native speakers left in the country.
A total of 17 research scholars have commenced work related to these languages.
CIIL Senior Research Scholar S Nagaraj said preliminary research will involve collection of available data related to these languages from experts and educational institutions around the country.

CIIL has collaborated with other universities, including the University of Mysore, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, the University of Madras, divided among six zones, for works on 44 endangered languages taken up in the preliminary phase.

“After available works on these languages are compiled, usage of language by native speakers will be documented. A detailed questionnaire, regarding usage of various words by speakers and phonetic transcription of words, will be taken up later,” he said.

Tri-lingual dictionary

A tri-lingual dictionary in English, Hindi and native language will be written by scholars who have selected different languages for the study.

Nagaraj has started works on ‘Vaagri Boli’, the tongue of Hakki Pikki tribe.

SPPEL Programme Coordinator L Ramamurthy said no special funds have been allotted by the Centre, so available funds of CIIL were being used.

CIIL Assistant Director M Balakumar said a core committee has been formed to monitor the works taken up under the programme.

“Several experts and resource persons have been entrusted with the works of compiling database on these languages. Junior resource persons have been trained in phonetic transcription, interview methods and others in the course the past month,” he said.

Of the 77 languages, 10 are from southern zone, which includes three languages spoken in Karnataka, namely, Vaagri Boli of Hakki Pikki tribals, Jenu Nudi of Jenu Kuruba tribals and Kutiya language of Male Kudiya tribals.

Studies related to 77 languages will be taken by experts distributed in six zones identified by CIIL authorities. These include Bondo (East Central Zone), Takahanyilang (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Paliya (Southern Zone), Khasa (Northern Zone), Atong (North Eastern Zone), Bharwadi (West Central Zone), and others.