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CIIL to document 500 endangered Indian languages

Feb 26, 2014 18:21 IST

The Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) will commence on a mega project to document almost 500 endangered languages in India, each spoken by less than 10000 people.

The decision to document endangered languages was taken by the CIIL during a two-day workshop on Endangered tribal languages in south India. The workshop was  organized by the Anthropological Society of India and the CIIL on 23 February 2014.


It has been approved in principle by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. The CIIL will collaborate with universities and institutes.

The objective of documenting the endangered languages is to bring out dictionaries and also document and preserve the ethic knowledge system enshrined in the languages, including folklore and also to frame grammar rules.

In the first phase, about 70 languages from different parts of the country will be studied and 500 languages would be taken up in a span of 10 years. The study and documentation of each language would cost between 6 lakh Rupees and 8 lakh Rupees.

According to the Census of India 2001, there are 122 endangered languages spoken in India.  The Anthropological Survey of India put it at 323, while a UNESCO report puts it at 196.


About CIIL

• Central Institute of Indian Languages was established to coordinate the Indian languages through scientific studies, promote inter disciplinary research to contribute to mutual enrichment of languages and thus contribute towards emotional integration of the people of India.
• Aims of CIIL are to Advices and Assists Central as well as State Governments in the matters of language and contribute to the development of all Indian Languages by creating content and corpus.

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