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4. Appeals, News and Views from Endangered Communities

Struggle For Rajasthani

Rajasthani, a member of Indo-Aryan language family, is spoken by about eighty million persons in Rajasthan and other parts of India and world. It has eight dialects: Bagri, Shekhawati, Mewati, Dhundhari, Harauti, Marwari, Mewari, and Wagri. It has a vast literature written in various genre starting from 1050AD.

Besides being recognised by the Sahitya Academy, University Grants Commission, All India Radio (Jaipur-Ajmer), DoorDarshan (T.V.),it has two Departments of Rajasthani at Jodhpur and Udaipur Universities, it is a tragedy that it is not recognised by the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Still it is considered a 'dialect' of Hindi.

Since 1947 the movements have been there for its recognition. Rajasthani speakers are 'mute' as they are not allowed to speak Rajasthani in governmental offices. Hindi has been imposed on Rajasthani speakers.

Now we the like-minded persons are thinking to launch a massive movement for the inclusion of Rajasthani in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. For this, if you think we are struggling for the genuine reason you are most welcome to join this movement for the self-respect of Rajasthani.

If you like these or similar ideas please send an email to: Lakhan Gusain

Stranger than Fiction: You Can be Arrested for Distributing Materials on Lesser Used Languages in Greece (report in French)

Brussels, 18 Dec 2001 The European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages distributed the following communiqué about an agitator for linguistic freedom. Fortunately, he has at least been released...

Procès des langues minoritaires à Athènes : relaxe pour un défenseur de la démocratie linguistique. Le Bureau exprime son soulagement humain et son espoir pour les langues minoritaires de Grèce.

Au mois de juillet 1995, M. Sotiris Bletsas se voyait condamné à 15 mois de prison pour distribution de fausses informations par la court de justice d'Athènes (Grèce). Militant connu pour son combat en faveur de la démocratie linguistique, Mr Bletsas avait distribué lors de réunion d'une réunion de travail des documents officiels du Bureau européen pour les langues moins répandues, ONG soutenue par la Commission européenne et oeuvrant en faveur du respect de la diversité linguistique. Dans ces publications étaient mentionnés et décrites les langues minoritaires parlées sur le territoire grec. Les autorités grecques étant peu favorables en matière de respect des langues minoritaires, la police avait contraint M. Bletsas à récuser officiellement les publications du bureau, qualifiée de « propagande antinationale » par les autorités.

« C'est avec un grand soulagement que nous avons appris la relaxe de M. Bletsas, le jugement en appel a en effet été reporté plusieurs fois. » explique Bojan Brezigar, Président de l'organisation, « il faut souligner le soutien des avocats de M. Bletsas, M. Panayote Dimitras, du Greek Helsinki Monitor, et de M. Domenico Morelli, du comité italien du Bureau. Au nom du Bureau, je les remercie ainsi que tous ceux qui ont soutenu M. Bletsas dans son action pour la reconnaissance de l'ensemble des langues autochtones de Grèce.»

Ce verdict ne pourra que réjouir entre autres, les locuteurs d'aroumain (langue proche du roumain, parlée en Grèce), d'albanais, de slavo-macédonien, de turc, qui représentent plus de 400 000 personnes. Ce verdict pourrait en effet faire jurisprudence : les informations incriminées ont finalement été reconnues comme 'non-fausses' par un tribunal grec. Cela pourrait ouvrir la voie à une juste reconnaissance de ces langues et à la possibilité de créer enfin un comité du Bureau en Grèce pour accompagner le mouvement de libéralisation linguistique.

Pour Bojan Brezigar, « La Grèce semble donner des signes d'ouverture en matière de respects des droits linguistiques. Nous espérons que la législation grecque se mette en conformités avec les standards européens en la matière, telle que la Charte européenne pour les langues régionales ou minoritaires, du Conseil de l'Europe, ou encore la Charte des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne. Outre que la Grèce pourra ainsi mettre en valeur son riche patrimoine linguistique, il faut rappeler que le grec lui même est une langue minoritaire en Italie : les efforts grecs pour promouvoir cet héritage grec en Italie auront d'autant plus de portée que la Grèce respectera les minorités sur son sol. »

Information sur les langues de Grèce :
http://www.eblul.org/wow
Information sur le procès Bletsas :
http://www.eurolang.net

Contact :
Bureau européen pour les langues moins répandues
Bertrand Romain Menciassi
Rue Saint-Josse, 49
B-1000 Bruxelles
T : +32 (0)2.218.25.90
F : +32 (0)2.218.19.74
Mail : eblul(at)eblul.org
www.eblul.org

Manx Gaelic Unit - Official Opening At Ballacottier Primary School, 12th Nov 2001

Since September of this year, the Department of Education has been providing education in Manx Gaelic to a class of infant children. This venture has been developed in conjunction with Sheshaght ny Paranrantyn (SnyP), a group of parents wishing their children to be educated through the Manx language - and Mooinjer Veggey, who have supplied the teaching expertise. This unique class is encompassed within Ballacottier Primary School, where Headteacher, Mr John Rhodes, ensures the smooth running of the unit and full involvement of the children in school life.

The creation of the Manx Gaelic Unit is the latest example of the Department of Education1s support and encouragement of the learning of the Manx language. The Minister for Education, Steve Rodan, commented 3I am pleased to be able to announce this important step, which was foreseen in the 1985 Report of the Select Committee on the Greater Use of Manx Gaelic and also by the Department of Education1s Report to Tynwald in 1995 on the 3Future Development of the Manx Language. I hope that this initiative will eventually lead to the creation of a school whose medium of teaching and learning will be Manx Gaelic.

The Department of Education has led the promotion of learning Manx, by interested children and their families, in a steady and purposeful way over the last decade. In 1992, the Department, together with Manx National Heritage and the Manx Heritage Foundation, collaborated in a joined-up Government drive to introduce the teaching of Manx into all 35 Primary Schools and 5 Secondary Schools.

 

 

Any pupils between the ages of seven and eighteen could volunteer to learn the language for half-an-hour per week. The uptake has been huge, with nearly 1000 pupils choosing to take part each year. Phil Kelly, the Department1s Manx Language Officer, leads a team of three peripatetic teachers, all of whom visit the schools each week.

A GCSE examination in Manx was introduced in 1997 with the specialist input of Dr Brian Stowell, who is currently putting the finishing touches to an A-level examination.

Plans for the future include moving the Manx Gaelic Unit to St John1s old school, when the new Primary school opens in 2002-03. The Manx Gaelic Unit will occupy the old school premises when vacated. This will allow for future expansion, if the interest in Manx-medium education is sustained at its present level.

There is ample and convincing research evidence from other countries that "pupils receiving Gaelic Medium primary education were not being disadvantaged in comparison with children educated through English. In many instances they out-performed English-medium pupils". (Page 4 - "Attainments of pupils receiving Gaelic Medium Primary Education Scotland". Scottish Executive Education Department 1999).

The official opening of the Unit at Ballacottier Primary School was performed by the Minister of Education, Steve Rodan, and attended by a number of guests, including some from Scotland and Ireland.

Call for Papers on Endangered Languages of South Asia

Dear Readers of the FEL Newsletter,

I am R. Elangaiyan working as a Member, Research Group For Studies On Tribal & Endangered Languages in the CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF INDIAN LANGUAGES (CIIL), Mysore, India. You may kindly read the background information provided and the appeal that I make in the following lines and consider offering your valuable cooperation most favorably.

CIIL, since its inception in 1969, has been working for the promotion of Indian languages, major and minor. Different States and Union Territories in India have been responsible for the promotion of major Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Hindi, etc. (which are the official languages of the States & Union Territories). Hindi being the Official Language of the Union and a few bigger States, and English being the Associate Official Language of the Union (and also as the medium of instruction at all higher levels of education throughout the country) are promoted by various Central and State agencies – governmental and nongovernmental. But CIIL is the only major institute (which is a department under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India) vested with the responsibility of promoting the cause of minor and lesser known languages (like the tribal languages) of India. More than a hundred such languages have been the subject matter of study, research and applications at CIIL for over the last thirty years of its functioning.

It is to be remembered in this context that all such minor and tribal languages do not enjoy adequate status and are not used to any appreciable extent in important domains like education, administration and communication. It is true that people numbering a million and above speak some of these languages but many other languages are spoken by only a few thousands and some other languages are spoken only by a hundred or so on. Naturally, language shift has been observed in many areas leading to language endangerment. In view of this prevailing situation, CIIL had arranged in collaboration with the University of Hyderabad, a Post Conference (International Conference On South Asian Languages-3) Seminar on Language Endangerment and South Asia on 6th and 7th January 2001. I was entrusted with the job of organizing and coordinating this event. Language Endangerment being a relatively new area of enquiry for linguists in South Asia, only a few research papers were presented. Some presentations were oral. The presented papers (six in number) were discussed in the Seminar, revised and submitted for publication. The idea is to bring out a volume on ‘Language Endangerment and South Asia’ that should become a source of reference for all the future work on language endangerment in this part of the globe. And hence I make this appeal in this newsletter for obtaining more research papers on language endangerment in the South Asian context. We in the CIIL are quite aware of the fact that there are many linguists from different parts of the globe are working on the lesser known minor and tribal languages spoken in South Asia. Those who are willing to contribute to the aforesaid volume are welcome. Friends! Your contribution to this volume will be highly appreciated and gratefully remembered forever. Issues related to language maintenance, language shift and language loss leading to language endangerment might be highlighted in your proposed research papers. Though we will be happy to receive your papers on and about the languages in South Asia, interesting case studies and theoretical issues based on languages spoken in any part of the globe are equally welcome. All your correspondences in this regard may kindly be addressed to:

Prof Udaya Narayan Singh,
Director,
Central Institute of Indian Languages,
Manasagangotri,
Mysore – 570 006.

udaya(at)ciil.stpmy.soft.net

Or

Dr R. Elangaiyan,
Research Group For Studies On Tribal & Endangered Languages,
Central Institute Of Indian Languages,
Manasagangotri,
Mysore – 570 006, India.

elan(at)ciil.stpmy.soft.net

Submission & Correspondence through e-mail will be preferred.

The time schedule for submission of papers is as follows:

Abstracts: by 28th February 2002.
Completed Papers: by 15th April 2002.

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