National Law University Delhi organised a daylong ‘National Conference on Language Diversity, Endangerment, and Vitalization: Agenda and Roadmap’ on 21 January 2017, undertaken under the UGC funded research project on indigenous and endangered languages.
This conference was held to understand and deal with the alarming situation of language deaths. According to estimates around 200 languages in India are endangered, and may die in due course if nothing is done to stop this trend.
Prof. Ranbir Singh, Vice Chancellor, NLUD inaugurated the conference aptly pointing out the meaning of language extinction as the death of an entire cultural ecosystem since language is representative of a people’s social identity, cultural ethos, and ethnicity.
Eminent academics who took part in the conference were Prof. R C Sharma, Head of the Department of Linguistics, University of Delhi, Prof. U N Singh, former Director of Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, Prof. G S Bajpai, Registrar, NLUD, Prof. G Balasubrahmanian, Rector, Dravidian University, Kuppam, Prof. B N Patnaik, Retired Professor, IIT Kanpur, Prof. Vaishna Narang, Prof. Anil Sehrawat, Deputy Director, Amity University, Noida, Prof. Shailendra Singh, Head of the Department, NEHU, Prof. Smita Sinha, Head of the Department of Linguistics, Berhampur University, Prof. Shreesh Choudhary, retired Professor, IIT Madras, and Dr Rajesh Kumar, Associate professor, IIT Madras focused on drawing a roadmap for preserving the cultural, social and linguistic heritage, and identity of our peoples.
The participation of international academics Prof. Stephanie Dijoux from Paris West University, Prof. Jakelin Troy from University of Sydney, Australia, and Prof. Maya David from Malaysia by video conferencing added a truly international perspective on a plethora of issues related to language diversity, endangerment, and vitality in India. The conference boasts of as many as thirty-two researchers presenting their perspectives on languages facing the threat of extinction.
Prof. Prasannanshu, the Conference Chair shed light on language endangerment and preservation in the spirit of the Indian constitutional provisions. He thanked the participants for their soulful participation and dedication, and noted that the conference was only the first in a series of academic initiatives that will also start a vigorous discourse, and a series of actions on the issue of language endangerment by broadening the horizons of research and applications of Linguistics to the fields of social planning and welfare. Prof. Prasannanshu was emphatic in noting the vision and role of Prof. Ranbir Singh in hosting this mammoth research programme in NLUD. This conference also highlights that NLU, Delhi is emerging as a major research centre for the endangered languages.