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Posted at: Feb 21, 2016, 1:27 AM; last updated: Feb 21, 2016, 1:27 AM (IST)

Linguists plead for preserving endangered languages

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 20

The Postgraduate Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of Doaba College, Jalandhar, today organised a two-day international conference on ‘Mother Tongue, Regional Languages and Societies’.

Dr Kanchan Malik, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad, graced the occasion as the key speaker whereas Dr Jaishree Jethvani from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication was the guest of honour. 

Delivering her keynote address, Dr Kanchan Malik, a faculty fellow, Unesco chair on Community Media, said India is a multi-cultural country that is home to 1,652 mother tongue and 780 dialects. The interesting fact is that there is not a single Indian language that is spoken across the length and breadth of the country. 

Diversity of language requires utmost planning and care because many languages are becoming endangered. With 196 of its languages listed as endangered, India tops the Unesco list of countries having the maximum number of dialects on the verge of extinction.

Speaking on the importance of community radio to promote the regional languages, Dr Malik said Unesco recognises that the presence of community radio is a sign of media pluralism, diversity of content and representation of society’s different groups, interests and languages. 

Community radio is one that is operated in the community, for the community, about the community and by the community. 

Delivering her lecture on the topic ‘How is India communicating with 1.2 billion people through regional media through regional languages’, Dr Jaishree Jethvani said, “India is a nightmare for the communicators, when you have to communicate with hundreds of languages. Three kinds of the communications generally happen, including government communication, marketing communication and entertainment media communication.”

“It is sad that in the modern globalised and capitalist world, languages are meddled with and crushed. It is important that we should use the colloquial language to maintain diversity. Community radio and Doordarshan are playing a positive role by transmitting various programmes.”

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