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  • Abhirup Som

Giving Regional Languages their Due

Regional languages are spoken in a particular region of a country by a sizable number of people but it is not the de facto language of the country. India has 22 official languages but it is home to 121 languages and 270 mother tongues. The dialect in India was said to change every 11 kilometres. But all these languages are not being preserved properly and we are losing our linguistic heritage. Over the years India has seen the death or irretrievable loss of languages. The loss of a language is always a cultural loss not just for a country’s heritage but for all of human history.

After the 1971 Census, the Indian government stated that indigenous languages that are spoken by less than 10000 people would not be considered in the list of official languages of India and according to UNESCO any language spoken by less than 10000 people should be considered endangered. Since 1971 the Census has been counting only languages with more than 10000 speakers and this has led to a decline of 108 languages from the list. 220 languages have been wiped out in the last 50 years. 192 languages that are vulnerable or endangered in India.


This shows that to preserve the rich history of languages we need to spread the regional languages and stop the domination of only one language across the whole of India. There must be recorded and printed resources for every regional language so as to preserve its sound and context. Teaching or taking part in classes for these regional languages helps in preserving these languages. Utilising the internet and social media to spread the languages is also very beneficial as it has the greatest reach compared to other mediums. Families should insist on speaking in their mother tongues at home. So that the languages are preserved.


If someone wants to pursue higher studies in India, a course with regional languages will highly benefit them and allow for a better understanding of the knowledge as it is in their preferred language. This will increase student optimism and boost self-confidence.


Incorporating regional languages will help in bringing in more participants for any event or educational institution so students who were previously reluctant to study further due to the language barrier will be interested in higher studies.


Teaching courses in regional languages will result in an unbiased education and will be culturally and academically inclusive while promoting fairness. Approximately 10% of Indians can speak English fluently and the inclusion of regional languages will significantly help people and help in better quality education.


Theory-based subjects will be easy to absorb in the mother tongue of the students as they are already proficient in that language and they will find it interesting and impactful making learning easier and simpler.


Regional languages incorporate a feeling of cultural identity within the people bringing unity. It helps in the cultural diversity of a country. It is also a basic human right to have the freedom to speak in one's language. The languages provide a glimpse of our past. It improves a student’s cognitive abilities if they are taught in their mother tongue which they speak at home.

It always plays an important role in the socio-economic and political situation of a nation as well as the educational advancements of a country's society. It can bring people together and help connect them better.


Bibliography:

  1. Basak, Shreya. “The Endangered and Extinct Languages of India.” OutLookIndia. 5 May 2022.Web. 6 Nov, 2022. <www.outlookindia.com/national/the-endangered-and-extinct-languages-of-india-news-194995.>

  2. Chang, Castillo. “Language Preservation: How Countries Preserve Their Language(S) - CCA.” CCaLanguageSolutions. 23 Apr. 2019. Web. 6 Nov, 2022. <ccalanguagesolutions.com/language-preservation-how-countries-preserve-their-languages.>


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