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First ever publications on endangered languages launched

Yidgha, Dameli and Gawarbati, spoken in different valleys of the district of Chitral, and Ushojo, spoken in Swat, have joined the ranks of languages being used for written communication.

These new books contain bilingual word lists and alphabets, all the information necessary both to begin using a language for written communication and to document a language for preservation purposes, said a press release issued by FLI.

While addressing the closing ceremony, Professor Mumtaz Hussain said that preservation of minor languages of Chitral is vital to protect Chitrali Culture. “These languages on the borders of Chitral are playing a role of defenders” he added. He also appreciated the effort FLI makes for preservation of vernacular languages.

The Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) has been striving to help the language communities of northern Pakistan to document and promote their languages through capacity building and developing new publications for more than a decade. Under this project, FLI selected two people from each language community to train in language documentation and development principles.

These individuals then later held training workshops in their respective communities and trained an average of ten people per community, enabling each community to effectively document their language. Together with support from the wider language communities, research was initiated to identify the unique sounds and elements of each language, develop their alphabets, collect folktales reflecting the rich heritage of each language’s culture, and then publish the resulting work in both written and audio formats that can be used by these communities for generations to come.

The ceremony was also addressed by Deputy District Nazim, Molana Abdul Shakoor who was the chief guest and very known writer Mola Nigah who graced the event as president. Dr. Inayatullah Faizi, Professor Karim Beg were among people who encouraged the communities who came to attend the ceremony.

In a celebratory concluding ceremony held at the same location where the project was initiated a year prior, these new linguists were acknowledged for their valuable contributions. The event followed a musical show at night where indigenous communities performed and stole the show. This was for the first time in their history that these communities were provided with such platform to display this this music. 

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  1. Khairuddin says

    Dear Mr. Afzal as I see your language skills I see an educated person but when i see your thought it make me to laugh on you.
    You mean the fund must go to the corrupt politicians, contractors, Civil Work Department so that they will digest the half.
    Our culture is our identity. Remember research is part of development. No one will succeed with out it. In UAE the government has now made it obligatory for every organization to spend 2% on R&D.
    But here our culture are dying out. Our government never focus on intangible assets like our culture, language and heritages.
    Being form the marginalize community lead I am grateful to FLI and congratulate for the success to preserve our language. Then most of All USAID really deserve our gratitude for making possible through funding the project.

  2. Afzal Aman says

    Good way to extract money from international NGOs like USAID under the pretext of protecting endangered languages. I bet you none of these people would like to communicate with you in the so-called languages they pretend to protect. They will shy of talking to each other in these languages. To be frank, even Khowar has become so polluted what to talk of an unknown Gujjur war these people are talking about. You could hardly find people talking to you which in Chitrali is called “Tor Khowar”. It does not matter whether a person who cannot utter a single word beyond ‘how are you’ would try to mix gisi pitti angrezi with Khowar. But even then we claim of protecting the endangered languages. Ma lu pisat haya ki nast tan khowaro sahi kurur achi shak zubanan wal biko koshish korur otherwise my message to these international NGOs is: “Spending money on these unknown languages is nothing but an exercise in futility, so better spend this money for some other good cause.”

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