indigenous language

The year 2019 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Indigenous Language to raise awareness about these languages and their contribution to global diversity. It is said that out of the 7,000 languages spoken around the world, 2,680 Indigenous languages, which constitutes more than one-third of the world’s languages—are in danger of disappearing.

And with the view to help preserve these indigenous languages, Google is celebrating indigenous languages and has come up with the new Google Earth Tour, that share audio recordings from more than 50 indigenous language speakers.

Google has also come out with a two and half minute video about the indigenous language titled ‘Meet Indigenous Speakers and Learn How They’re Keeping Their Languages Alive’. This video also features our Tangkhul language and is represented by one Tangkhul Lady, Thingreiphi, where she melodiously sings a folksong in her native language

Watch the video here

“I do this not for myself, but for my children and grandchildren, so that in the future, they’ll hear our language,” says Dolores, who recorded audio in her native Plains Cree.

Tangkhul Indigenous Language at a glance

UNESCO list Tangkhul Language in Vulnerable category in it’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. As per the UNESCO Atlas, approximately 1,42,000 speaks Tangkhul Language worldwide. Even though Tangkhul Naga Tribe has a population of more than 2 lakhs, one should understand that not everyone knows how to speak and write Tangkhul language. There are more than 250 Tangkhul Villages and each village has their own dialect.

In addition to this, growing usage of Meitei and English language has also greatly impacted the use of Tangkhul language. Moreover there are less books, magazines, newspaper etc written in Tangkhul language.

The Aja Daily, which is the only Tangkhul Newspaper (Bilingual), is also not doing well in terms of readerships. As per their admission in their facebook group discussion, they are selling only around 1500 copies per day. Out of this 1500 copies, only around 700* copies is sold in Ukhrul (which I believe is inclusive of Ukhrul & Kamjong District and including the copies sold in villages).

Ukhrul Town must have a population of at least 25,000. That means AJa Daily newspaper is being read by only around 2.8%. It gets worst when we take into account the total number of Tangkhul langauge speakers, ie 1,42,000  and the sales per day of Aja Daily. Our only Tangkhul newspaper is being able to penetrate only 1% of the total Tangkhul speaking population.

Recently a Tangkhul based bilingual television programme in ISTV 109, Ekhon TV has been launched. We believe such online channel and TV programme will also help preserve and also spread the use of Tangkhul language.

TangkhulOnline platform also has a dedicated Forumpage where we encourage our users to contribute their articles, poetries, folktales etc in Tangkhul language.

It is also worth  mentioning that Soror Zimik, a young Tangkhul lad has recently published his Tangkhul Novel ‘Okthuishap Rala’. It’s highly appreciating for taking such effort to publish a Tangkhul Novel.

Another medium which I believe is helping and spreading the use of Tangkhul language is through Music and Movies. In recent years, a lot of Tangkhul Movies and Tangkhul Songs both audio and Music Videos are booming. Such has also helped in the usage of Tangkhul language.

What should we do to promote our Tangkhul Language? Share your opinions in the comments below.


*The number of copies sold in Ukhrul was earlier mentioned as 300.


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