Chai calls for collective efforts for language policy, script development

ITANAGAR, Feb 28: Research Minister, Dr Mohesh Chai has suggested collective efforts by the Research department, Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS, RGU) and the Education department to save the indigenous languages from extinction.
Chai’s suggestion came during a brain storming consultative meeting of resource persons of these two departments, the AITS RGU and experts at the Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum’s conference hall here on Wednesday.
An integrated road map may be designed to adopt appropriate policy to develop one’s own script; the script that is to be adopted in the education system and to establish methodology for determining actual status of each speech community, he said.
“It is the moral duty of all Arunachalees irrespective of the department to save their own identity by safeguarding indigenous languages” the minister said.
Invitee resource person, Dr Roger Blench of Cambridge University, who recently developed the Mishmi script, delivered a presentation on the need of development of indigenous scripts, methodology and modus operandi of it.
According to Dr Roger, “Script development is the need of the hour so that the next generation can read, learn and speak its own language and feel pride of own associate identities”.
On methodological aspect, Dr Blench suggested for GPS marking, enumeration of households, mother tongue speaking children at home and elsewhere, detection of focus groups, interview with CBOs, and languages used in media to chalk out language development strategy.
“After the field study, the field researchers have to analyze the sound of language by writing the sound in international phonetic alphabets for undertaking phonetic analysis,” he said.
Research Secretary, Dani Salu emphasized on preparing common list of speech community of the state and priority sector for the development of indigenous languages. He also pointed out on the need of technical training for field research officers to accomplish the work successfully.
During the technical session, resource persons and experts in the consultative meeting recommended some important points to the government and said that language policy should be evidence based and in accordance with the Constitution.
Advocating for prioritization of lesser known languages for development of the script, they also recommended involvement of CBOs and NGOs, and harmonization of scripts, if possible.
The consultative meeting further recommended that third language may be introduced from class-I with the prior acceptance of CBOs.
‘There should be a policy for appointing expert committee for textbook preparation with involvement of CBOs and creation of language education and language teaching policy’, they suggested.
Earlier, Research Director Batem Pertin initiated the discussion.
State Editor Gazetteer S Kri, Dr Tarun Mene, Assistant Professor, AITS, Prof Jumyir Basar, AITS, Lisa Kamduk, Assistant Professor, Bango Palon, Deputy Director, Elementary Education, Jimi Pulu, Deputy Director of Research (Philology), Dr. S.K. Ghosh, Deputy Director (Museum & Archive), R N Koley, OSD took part in the consultative discussion.