Invisible Extinction of Indian language – An overview of Contemporary Era

Author: Sujit Malick (TDB college, West Bengal, India)
Speaker: Sujit Malick
Topic: Language revitalization
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2009 published a third series of the Atlas of the World`s Language in Danger, giving a grim picture of the languages which are endangered or are about to be extinct. Nearly 2500 languages being treated as an endangered becomes a harrowing global phenomenon, and such trend needs to be addressed immediately through the intervention of technology for documentation what we firmly believe. But the intervention of technology or mediating through technology does not ensure the preservation or documentation. In my talk I would show how intervention rather invasion of technology augments the process of extinction of language Last sixty years witness a huge shift of consumption of cultural artifact, and interestingly shift of consumption relies on the orbit of the dominant culture. Language is actually symbolic representation of indigenous culture; it loses it significance when a culture encoded in the language is eroded. The process of devouring of indigenous by dominant culture is known as cultural assimilation and assimilation through tech- mediated corporate media and social media become the cause of extinction. In India, almost 176 languages are on the verge of extinction – languages like Boro in North _ East, Tolcha in South, Gondi in Central and many others, which are mostly tribal languages, zeroing rapidly. Tribes, being carried way or to mainstreaming themselves for leaving stigmatized identity embrace the dominant cultural artifact along with language. Therefore, the language becomes the victim of the cultural assimilation which is chiefly borne by electronics media and entertainment channels. In my paper, I will show technology poses as the rebuttal of language documentation rather it ushers the process of extinction and the talk of paper is adequately empirical, but it is important to keep tab on cultural aspect of language documentation. An effective documentation proceeds only through the initiation of the culture of the target language. In Manipur folk theatre on the open stage helps to preserves the local language as the audience are largely tribal folk communicate with actors in their own language. I conclude here with the possible remedial measure of extinction or of language, that is prior to the implementation of technological solution, project needs to concentrate on cultural co- existence.

Keywords: documentation, indigenous , assimilation, culture, tribal