25 March, 2008

UN Works Programme on endangered languages

There has been a huge debate about Unesco's report on disappearence of Punjabi language in next 50 years. I have been searching unsuccessfully on google to find original Unesco report to confirm this. What I have found so far is a link to endangered languages in India that mentions Sharda lipi (Kasmiri) as endangered.
Punjabi is not mentioned on this page as endangered, but I could not get hold of Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing which seems to include list of all endangered languages. Unesco site states that a new version will be out in 2008, I am looking forward to read it.

I heared some people commenting that Unesco has not authority on saying that Punjabi is endangered. Unesco has acutually deviced a framework to access language vitality and endangerment. Unesco programme includes all languages and an interesting but worrying fact is that one language disappeares every two weeks. Give the current attitude of native punjabi people toward punjabi it seems to be a real possibility in next 5 to 10 years. Most british born punjabis can speak punjabi, but can not read or write it. I will assume similar situation in Canada and US.

Its time to act. Now.


ਅ. ਸ. ਆਲਮ said...

I have no idea about why Punjabi is not there (yes, it is point to discuss).
but I know lot of voices for disappearing of Punjabi from World maps.
Agree that Outside Punjab, most Punjabi
people are not able to type it in either
Gurmukhi LIPI or Shahmukhi LIPI.
it is one step to start disappearing the Language. When script die, then we haven not too much left to save a language.

ਅ. ਸ. ਆਲਮ said...

some useful comment in UNESCO report:
"A language is in danger when its speakers cease to use it, use it in an increasingly
reduced number of communicative domains, and cease to pass it on from one generation
to the next. That is, there are no new speakers, adults or children."

"Even languages with many thousands of speakers are no longer being acquired by
children; at least 50% of the world’s more than six thousand languages are losing
speakers. We estimate that, in most world regions, about 90% of the languages may be
replaced by dominant languages by the end of the 21st century."