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Preserving Asian Indigenous Languages: Triumphs & Initiatives

Preserving Asian indigenous languages is a essential facet of bolstering sustainability efforts. In truth, the United Nations Basic Meeting declared 2022-2032 because the Worldwide Decade of Indigenous Languages. The explanation for this can be a rising recognition that these languages play a vital position in defending the surroundings and fostering good governance and peacebuilding.

Nonetheless, many of those languages are disappearing and are thought of endangered on account of a scarcity of native initiatives to protect them. Whereas solely 3% of the worldwide inhabitants speaks round 4,000 indigenous languages, it’s estimated that we face a lack of not less than one world language each two weeks. Which means that most can turn into extinct by 2100 if we don’t take motion now.

That’s why a number of communities in Asia are taking steps to protect their Asian indigenous languages. Hold studying to seek out out why that is vital and what a few of these initiatives are.

The significance of preserving Asian indigenous languages

Preserving Asian indigenous languages has a number of advantages, not least of which embody the next:

  • They’re the cornerstone of cultural id: Asian indigenous languages embody the historical past, traditions, and customs of indigenous individuals. These languages usually present worthwhile insights into communities’ methods of life they usually additionally supply a singular perspective of the world. As such, preserving these languages means preserving vital cultural heritage.
  • They comprise worthwhile environmental data: Secondly, indigenous languages present insights into the surroundings and the connection between individuals and nature. They’ve distinctive data of native ecosystems and assets, making it a elementary facet of sustainable administration of pure assets.
  • They characterize huge linguistic variety: Preserving Asian indigenous languages is essential to sustaining linguistic variety and selling cultural pluralism. With round 7,000 languages spoken all over the world, this can be a testomony to the huge variety of human language.

Case research of profitable Asian indigenous language revitalization efforts

Understanding the significance of preserving Asian indigenous languages, it have to be famous that some communities in Asia are taking daring steps to deal with the lack of linguistic variety and cultural heritage by concerted efforts that goal to retain the use and sharing of information by Asian indigenous languages. Beneath are only a few examples of those initiatives.

Papua New Guinea

First up, we’ve Papua New Guinea—one of many world’s most linguistically and floristically various international locations. It’s house to round 840 languages and roughly 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

One initiative that goals to protect the linguistic heritage on this nation included a pilot challenge within the Solomon Islands, which required college students in any respect ranges of training to finish assignments documenting indigenous environmental data of their indigenous language, Marovo, as a part of the common faculty curriculum.

This challenge was the primary of its type for roughly 90% of the taking part college students, who needed to write a considerable textual content in their very own indigenous language. The outcome was that the connections between native data and science was strengthened by the usage of indigenous languages in training.

One other initiative within the Pacific Islands is involving group members, particularly ladies, to share Ancestral Voyaging Data (AVK) by on-line curriculum assets.


Bangladesh is house to over 54 indigenous peoples, which comprise almost a million of the full inhabitants. Round 80% of those individuals stay in flatland districts within the north and southeast of the nation. The rest usually reside within the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Aside from the official language of Bengali, indigenous individuals in Bangladesh communicate round 35 completely different languages with their very own alphabets and intonations. Nonetheless, they’re going through strain from the dominant tradition.

Some initiatives which were taken to counter this problem characteristic together with texts in indigenous languages and academics from indigenous teams on the preschool stage. Moreover, the federal government has distributed books to preschools in 5 Indigenous languages: Chakma, Garo, Kokborok, Marma, and Sadri. Nonetheless, the dearth of certified academics who communicate these languages stays restricted. Additionally, there are not any plans as but which were provided for mother-tongue training at larger ranges.

In 2022, UNESCO, in collaboration with The Asia Basis and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, launched the challenge Hooked on Peace: Selling Constructive Peace by Indigenous and Native Language Digital Storytelling. Hooked on Peace will use digital storytelling within the indigenous languages of Asia to advertise youth improvement and intergenerational dialogue, mother-tongue training, digital literacy, gender equality, and preservation of indigenous heritage and practices.

In Bangladesh, Hooked on Peace will deliver younger and outdated collectively in two ethnic communities to share and doc conventional narratives. The tales will probably be developed by younger indigenous individuals by dialogue inside their very own ethnic communities, and can then turn into the idea for a sequence of digital publications, in indigenous languages, that promote conventional practices and options for peacebuilding and sustainability. These tales will then be launched to the general public on February 21, 2024, in celebration of Worldwide Mom Language Day.


Greater than 200 languages have disappeared in India up to now 50 years and one other 197 are thought of in danger. Nonetheless, this example is altering slowly as a rising variety of grassroots initiatives are trying to protect the cultural heritage of indigenous tribes.

Listed here are a number of examples of those:
asian indigenous people

  • In 2001, on the age of 17, Banwang Losu started to consider a writing system for Wancho, his mom tongue, spoken primarily in Arunachal Pradesh, as an alternative of utilizing Latin letters. In 2019, the alphabet he developed by nearly 20 years of analysis was included within the worldwide Unicode system.
  • In 2008, Malati Murmu based a newspaper, the Fagun, within the Santali language, with an preliminary circulation of solely 500 copies. The Ol Chiki script was invented in 1925 by author Ragunath Murmu. His final goal? To guard the Santali language and literature and to advertise tribal tradition. Its circulation now averages round 5,000 printed copies.
  • In 2013, India’s Schooling Ministry established the Scheme for Safety and Preservation of Endangered Languages (SPPEL) “to doc and archive the nation’s languages which have turn into endangered or prone to be endangered within the close to future.”
  • In 2014, journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary created CGNet Swara, a web-based platform devoted to points associated to the central area of Gondwana, with tales and information within the Gondi language. Anybody, wherever in India, can report tales on this platform by making a telephone name to a quantity linked to it. The tales can be found for playback on-line and over the telephone. Whereas the Gondi language is spoken by two million individuals, solely 100 can write it.
  • In 2021, within the japanese state of Odisha, the place most Indian Adivasis stay, state authorities determined that elementary faculty textbooks could be printed in 21 tribal languages utilizing the Oriya alphabet except for Santali, which may proceed to make use of Ol Chiki.


In the case of preserving Asian indigenous languages, some strides have been made to deal with this challenge though a lot work stays to be completed. We are able to solely salute the Ainu of Japan the place their studying system focuses on elders educating the language to their youth.

As well as, the Colleges of Residing Custom in several indigenous communities within the Philippines additionally preserve their cultural types resembling language alive. Nonetheless, these remoted circumstances must turn into the norm versus being an anomaly or an exception to the rule.



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