Sunday, April 14, 2024

Issues related to endangered languages of Northeast discussed

The Department of Linguistics and Language Technology (LLT), Tezpur University (TU)
on Tuesday (12 March 2024) organized a day long National Conference on Language and
Linguistics to mark its second anniversary. The conference focused on the linguistics of the languages of Northeast, many of them are from Tibeto-Burman languages. Prof. C. Yashwant Singh, noted academician of Linguistics & formerly Dean of Arts, Manipur University was present on the occasion.

Delivering the welcome address, Prof. Gautam K. Borah, Head, Dept. of LLT said that
Northeast is known for its linguistic diversity, but many of the 220 languages spoken in
the region are currently endangered. In this context, the department has been
conducting research on several endangered and previously unresearched languages of
Northeast India. Prof. Borah further said that given the importance of the Department in this region, the Department shall offer four-year under-graduate programme in Linguistics and Language Technology from the next academic year. Currently it is offering a two-year
Master’s in Linguistics and Language Technology and guides PhD research in the discipline.

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As part of the event, a book titled “Select papers from National Conference on
Linguistics and Language Technology 2023”, was released by Prof Shambhu Nath Singh,
Vice Chancellor, TU & the Chief Guest of the conference. Addressing the gathering, the Vice Chancellor said that India’s Northeast region is the most linguistically diverse and culturally vibrant area in the country with a confluence of languages from at least 4 language families of which several are lesser-known or understudied. “It is our duty not only to study these languages for academics purpose only, but also help the speakers in multiple ways by encouraging them to preserve their linguistic, cultural, and ecological heritage”, Prof Singh said.

Delivering the keynote address, Prof. C. Yashwant Singh said that languages are not just
tools for communication; they are intricate expressions of culture, history, and identity.
Therefore, when a language faces the threat of extinction, it leads to loss of cultural
diversity and human heritage. Senior Prof Madhumita Barbara, who has been closely associated with erstwhile Department of English & Foreign Languages for nearly three decades expressed her views on the future activities of the department. Prof Farheena Danta, Dean, Humanities & Social Sciences said that research on endangered languages in the department will play an important role in the discussions on the introduction of mother tongue medium under the National Education Policy. In conjunction with the programme, the students displayed wall posters on various topics in about 11 languages of the Northeast.


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