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10 Indian Languages Used By Less Than 100 Indians

Less than 100 Indians use these 10 languages

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International Day of Indigenous Languages
International Day of Indigenous Languages on 9th August raises concern over Indian vernacular languages going extinct. Pixabay

At about 450 living languages, India’s rich linguistic heritage is one to be proud of and be conserved. On Friday, as the world celebrates International Day of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) though it is worrisome that at least 5 Indian languages are extinct, and 10 have less than 100 speakers all over the country.

As per the online chapter of Unesco Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 197 languages in India are either vulnerable, endangered or extinct.

The extinct languages are Ahom, Andro, Rangkas, Sengmai, Tolcha — all spoken in the Himalayan belt.

It’s not all gloom and doom for 81 Indian languages — including Manipuri, Bodo, Garhwali, Ladakhi, Mizo, Sherpa and Spiti — but they are still in the “vulnerable” category and need organised effort to undergo a revival.

Globally, there are around 7,000 languages in the world today.

extinct indian languages
Unesco Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger reveals that 197 languages in India are either vulnerable or extinct. Pixabay

“About 97 per cent of the world’s population speaks only 4 per cent of these languages, while only 3 per cent of the world speak 96 per cent of all remaining languages,” as per Unesco.

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A great majority of those languages, spoken mainly by indigenous people, continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

Of thousands of indigenous languages spoken today, four in 10 are in danger of disappearing, rights experts had said ahead of the IYIL, in a call for a decade of action to reverse the “historic destruction” of age-old dialects. (IANS)

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Study: Infants can Learn to Associate Ethnicity with Language

The research was done in Vancouver, Canada where approximately nine per cent of the population can speak Cantonese

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ethnicity, languages, infants
This study suggests young infants pick up on specific language-ethnicity pairings based on the faces and languages they encounter, researchers said. Pixabay

A study has found that babies as young as 11-month-olds can learn to associate the language they hear with ethnicity. Published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology, the research found that infants looked at faces of Asian descendents rather than at those who looked Caucasian when hearing the Cantonese language versus English.

“Our findings suggest that by 11 months, infants start making connections between languages and ethnicities based on the individuals they encounter in their environments,” said Lillian May, Professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

“In learning about language, infants are doing more than picking up sounds and sentences, they also learn about the speakers of language,” she added. The research was done in Vancouver, Canada where approximately nine per cent of the population can speak Cantonese.

infants, language, ethnicity
“In learning about language, infants are doing more than picking up sounds and sentences, they also learn about the speakers of language,” she added. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers played English-learning infants of Caucasian ancestry sentences in both English and Cantonese and showed them pictures of people of Caucasian descent and of Asian descent.

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When the infants heard Cantonese, they looked more at the Asian faces than when they were hearing English. When they heard English, they looked equally to Asian and Caucasian faces.

This study suggests young infants pick up on specific language-ethnicity pairings based on the faces and languages they encounter, researchers said. “The link between speaker characteristics and language is something no one has to teach babies. They learn it all on their own,” said Janet Werker, Professor at the varsity. (IANS)