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Keeping Languages Alive

Cultural activists are fighting back as Hindi and English strengthen grip.

Classrooms at the Adivasi Academy in western India echo to the speech patterns of languages that may soon become no more than a meaningless jumble of noises. Kukna, Panchmahali and Rathvi are just three of dozens of tribal Indian tongues taught at the academy, which was set up in 1996 in an attempt to preserve the country's indigenous cultures.

Language is for communication. The more universally we can communicate, the more dynamic our cultures will be, because the more they will be open to new ideas. If the language group is very small then the group's survival depends on its ability to learn a more widely spoken language. I think what the activists are doing is admirable but for Indians to thrive, it is important for people to speak multiple languages including prominent ones like Hindi and English.

What do you think?


Vinod_Sharma said...

Completely agree with you. Although not completely related, I find this argument about preservation of heritage also going to absurd lengths. Even a stone put by someone, if old enough, must be preserved, so goes the logic.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't get my entire thoughts across in so few words but that's what I was trying to say...Some things should be allow to die...I feel some language campaigners think they are fighting for minority rights i.e. saving the vulnerable from the evils of global capitalism...They also mistakenly link language to culture and feel that if a language dies, so will the culture...

Maald said...

It all boils down to numbers, ain't it? Anything over a million is not small. Welsh and Estonian are spoken by a million. Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Lithianian - all these are spoken by 5 million or lesser.
The reason I picked these is because they are spoken by white people and no one dare ask the white man to abandon his language. He won't.

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