• Issues Analysis 360o

Dying languages ( Shina language in J and K )

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  •  More than 40 Indian languages will soon be extinct. Though Shina language has got around 300,000 native speakers, but the numbers have sharply decreased over the last 2 decades. Therefore the language is known as a dying language.


  • As per the Census Directorate, 42 Indian languages are said to be endangered. Due to the small number who speak the languages are expected to soon be extinct. The languages include dialects as well. The 42 languages are considered endangered because they are spoken by less than 10,000 people.

Endangered languages:

  • The endangered languages include, 11 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands- Andamanese, Jarawa, Lamongse, Luro, Muot, Onge, Pu, Sanenyo, Sentinelese, Schompen and Takahanyilang, 7 from Manipur- Aimol, Aka, Koiren, Lamgang, Langrong, Purum, and Tarao, and 4 from Himachal Pradesh- Baghati, Handuri, Pangvali and Sirmaudi. Mandi, Parji and Pengo from Orissa, Koraga and Kuruba from Karnataka, Gadaba and Naiki from Andhra Pradesh, Mra and Na from Arunachal Pradesh, Tai Nora and Tai Rong from Assam, Bangani from Uttarakhand, Kota and Toda from Tamil Nadu, Birhor from Jharkhand, Nihali from Maharashtra, Ruga from Meghalaya and Toto from West Bengal.

Efforts to protect these languages:

  • A central scheme is in place to protect these languages. The Central Institute of Indian Languages has been working on the conservation of these languages. Under the programme, grammatical descriptions, monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, language primers, anthologies of folklore, encyclopedias of all languages or dialects that are endangered are being prepared. There are currently 31 languages in India that have been given the status of official languages by state governments and union territories.

Difference between a Dialect and a Language?

  • Distinction between the two based can be made based on the concept of Mutual intelligibility. Two languages where speakers can understand each other are considered dialects of the same language, whereas two languages where the speakers cannot understand each other are separate languages.
  • Historically two dialects with close enough continuous contact will remain mutually intelligible. With enough separation in time and space dialects will eventually turn into separate languages.

Way ahead:

  • India is one of the few countries with such a huge diversity of languages. If the languages become extinct it will not just mean the loss of the said languages but also a loss of culture. The country wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for its diversity, languages are a crucial part of that diversity.

Syed Uzair Qadri By - Syed Uzair Qadri
Posted On - 10/18/2018 10:34:16 PM

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