Experts dwell on issue of endangered languages

AMRITSAR: A two-day national seminar on Language Shift and Endangered Languages: Issues, Effects, and Responses today concluded at Guru Nanak Dev University with a note of consensus that the process of language extinction must be reversed so that human beings could maintain linguistic diversity along with cultural diversity with language as its main carrier.

editorial@tribune.com

Amritsar, March 27

A two-day national seminar on Language Shift and Endangered Languages: Issues, Effects, and Responses today concluded at Guru Nanak Dev University with a note of consensus that the process of language extinction must be reversed so that human beings could maintain linguistic diversity along with cultural diversity with language as its main carrier.

The seminar was organised by the Department of English of the university, the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Punjab Chapter.

After four technical sessions of research papers dealing with different aspects of individual languages and theoretical issues related to the causes and effects of language endangerment, the concluding mainstream argument of the seminar was that languages are as necessary as food and shelter for human beings; just as we have a variety of foods for different societies in spite of globalisation of some varieties of foods, languages also must be retained as carriers of cultures. Speaking in the valedictory session, Dr HS Bhatti, professor of sociology, Punjabi University, Patiala, said it was actually the intellect of people which was endangered and hence, the language also became endangered.

Prof ON Koul, former director of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, said learning a new language was an asset but losing one’s own language in the process was a greater loss.

Earlier, in the technical sessions, Rahmat Shaikh and Jenny of the Central University of Hyderabad, GS Bajwa and Manbir Singh Bhullar from GNDU, Charanjit Singh of Lyalpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, and Robonder Powar of Punjabi University, Patiala presented their research papers.

In the second session, scholars tried to explain the issue of language endangerment with reference to literary texts, popular songs and question of standardisation.

Dr Sukhdev Singh, professor of Applied Linguistics said the success of a seminar was in bringing together people with divergent views on the issue so that some new insights could be drawn for future practice. He thanked the scholars for discussing their views freely, frankly and honestly. — TNS

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