KASARGOD: The Central University of Kerala's (CUK) Centre for Endangered Languages will soon start comprehensive documenting of the endangered languages in the state. As a first step, four languages- Muduga, Malaveda, Kanikkar and Kakkala- have been identified to be documented and the University has also appointed experts under whom extensive research on these languages would take place. During the first phase, over 25 languages including various tribal languages and Lakshadweep Malayalam will be covered by the experts.
The Centre for Endangered Languages is a project funded by the UGC through a central government scheme for development of endangered languages. The Centre is also collaborating with the Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga for research in minor/tribal/endangered languages of the Indian coast. The Centre is working under the department of Linguistic Studies at Vidyanagar campus of the CUK.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Linguistic Studies department associate professor and Centre for Endangered Languages Coordinator Dr Ravisankar Nair said that the research would basically focus on the words and grammar outline of the language. “We will also look into anthropological and ethnological materials,” he added. The documentation will be uploaded online in the centre’s server at Visva Bharati University, Shanti Niketan.
Dr Ravisankar added that studies in endangered languages were particularly important in Kerala. “For example, in Paniya language there are elements which are absent in common Dravidian languages related to the usage of masculine, feminine and neutral genders,” he added. The Centre will also launch an online corpus of language and cultural data of tribal languages including spoken data, world lists, oral literature, videos, maps and census data. The public can also contribute to the research. The students of the department are also collecting data on Koraga and Mavilan languages- spoken by communities in Kasargod.