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UNESCO list of endangered languages India

UNESCO list of endangered languages India
endangered languages

We cannot progress by ignoring our past. We managed to build cars because the wheel was invented. If we had discarded every invention from the past and tried to build things from scratch, it would have taken us centuries to get where we are today. The past gives us the knowledge we need to succeed in the present. This is why it is crucial to study us. But the wisdom from the past is not only good for the progress of our industries, but it is also helpful for our social life. Social norms should indeed be updated with time, but there are a lot of good things that have come to us from our ancestors and that are helping us survive in the twentieth century.


The world’s second-most populous country is in South Asia. Humans have lived on the continent for 55,000 years. It is the land of the Indus Valley Civilization. The region is known for its human genetic diversity. The old history of the area is quite fascinating. Anyone who studies the history of the region will learn about different religions, cultures, and civilizations. The various rulers of the region brought different stories to the continent with them, and they affected the population.

endangered languages

The beliefs, culture, and languages of the land were greatly affected by different rulers throughout the years. Even today, thousands of different languages are spoken in India. Although not all of them have a lot of speakers, many of them are still going steady. The India official language is not one but two: Hindi and English. However, Hindi is the language of the majority of the population. The number of people who can speak and understand English in India is on the rise. But there are a lot of locations in the country where people don’t even know Hindi and only speak their regional languages.

endangered languages

Endangered Languages in India:

It is up to us to protect our culture and history. But sometimes, that is not an easy job. Especially when it comes to languages, it is quite challenging to gather data about them. When some languages are spoken in remote areas, it is very difficult to research them. Sometimes, the speakers are only a few, and none of them are good interpreters, so communication becomes impossible. A lot of tongues are spoken in India, but a few have been around for ages and are in danger of becoming extinct now.

Some vernaculars from the region have already gone extinct. The UNESCO list of endangered languages in India gives us some idea about the vernaculars that will go extinct in the near future and which ones can be saved with efforts from the people.

  1. Balti:

Spoken in both India and Pakistan, this is a Tibetic language. It has less than 400,000 speakers in total and could go extinct in a hundred years. For now, it is considered a vulnerable tongue. The Perso-Arabic script is used to write Balti. But in the past, it was written using Tibetan script. The language has been separated from other Tibetan vernaculars. Nowadays, it gets pressurized by dominant tongues of the region.

  1. Darma:

This tribal tongue had less than two thousand speakers in 2006. It is closely related to a bunch of vernaculars that are spoken by different tribes.

  1. Gangte:

Spoken by the people of Manipur and Assam, this Kuki-Chin tongue has no known dialects. But it is mutually intelligible with other Kuki-Chin vernaculars. It also has a few speakers in Burma. In the census of 2011, its speakers were 17,542.

  1. Koch:

Koch is another Sino-Tibetan language in India that is endangered. Despite being spoken in Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, as well as in India, the tongue still appears on the list of endangered tongues.

  1. Mandeali:

One of the highly endangered vernaculars in India is Mandeali. The number of its speakers has decreased drastically since 1961. The vernacular is divided into multiple dialects, which are mostly not mutually intelligible.

  1. Nihali:

The tribe of Nihali is made up of five thousand people. Out of them, only two thousand can speak their tribal language. Nihali is known for having adopted a huge portion of its vocabulary from neighboring tongues.

  1. Sumi:

The people of the ethnic group known as Sumi Naga, speak this language. They were less than eleven thousand in number in the census of 2011. The speakers of Sumi can be found in different parts of the country, but Nagaland is the main region where the tongue can be heard.

  1. Zakhring:

Spoken in Arunachal Pradesh, this tongue has only nine hundred speakers, which means it is highly at risk. A close relative of Zakhring is spoken in China. The vernacular has adopted a lot of foreign words over the years.

Today there is no tongue you can label as the Indian language because of the linguistic diversity of the country. It is only expected from the country that has the world’s second-biggest population. But it is our differences that can help us become stronger. It can feel a little overwhelming to accept that thousands of different vernaculars are spoken in the world. But when you are coming from a place of love, you will be able to get included in conversations. And as long as you stay connected to your roots, you will continue to make it big in the present too. Don’t let anyone take away your history from you.

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