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Over 3,000 languages facing extinction, say experts

ISLAMABAD: There are 6,000 languages in the world, out of which 3,000 are on the brink of extinction because they have less than 250 people who speak them. languagesThis information was shared by participants of various events held in different parts of the city in connection with the ‘International Mother Language Day’. It was also informed that only 250 languages had more than one million speakers. The first event on the occasion was a walk held to promote mother languages. A large number of literary persons participated in the walk from China Chowk to National Press Club. They included Pakistan Academy of Letters Chairman Abdul Hameed, Punjabi Adabi Parwar representative Amjad Kharal, Iqbal Hussain Afkar from Pashto Adabi Society, Masood Azhar from Halqa Arbab-i-Zauq and large number of citizens. All speakers spoke in their native languages and said that at the primary level only mother language should be used as a medium to teach children because a child understands the language more easily. They stressed upon the need to preserve all indigenous languages spoken in the country. They mentioned the languages of northern part of Pakistan, in particular Kalasha language spoken by the Kalash minority group. Meanwhile, the Silk Road Centre and Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations, Quaid-i-Azam University, organised an annual heritage forum. The purpose of the forum was to promote public awareness on the cultural diversity and heritage of Pakistan. Secretary-General, Pakistan National Commission for Unesco, Amna Imran Khan, said all efforts were being made to preserve the cultural heritage. Executive Director, Silk Road Centre, Dr Ijlal Hussain told Dawn that at the moment around two dozen languages were facing extinction. “Unfortunately languages are not documented in Pakistan due to which they are facing extinction. We have to document them, and literature should be published in these languages,” he said. “In Swat valley, some work has been done on Torwali language which is also facing extinction. Unfortunately in Pakistan foreigners have been working for the preservation of languages but locals are not very much interested. It is a job of heritage forums to work on the languages,” Mr Hussain added. The centre’s executive director said Pakistan was far behind compared to Nepal which had worked for the preservation of languages. We need to research on endangered languages, he added. It is pertinent to mention here that the International Mother Language Day is celebrated on February 21 every year to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.]]>

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