Saturday 23 June 2012

Endangered languages in Pakistan

I just watched a short but shocking report by Aljazeera television highlighting the plight of 6900 contemporary languages that are under threat and might disappear in the next 90 years. It was, however, good to find out about this worthy project ( that is attempting to record as many of these endangered languages as possible before they disappear
The Endangered Languages Project, is an online resource to record, access, and share samples of and research on endangered languages, as well as to share advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen languages under threat.
It doesn't come as a surprise to me that some of the languages listed under the project come from regions (mostly North Western) in Pakistan including Balti (308,800 speakers world wide), Ormuri (1050 speakers worldwide), Torwali (60,000 speakers), Bateri (29,100 speakers), Ushojo (500 speakers), Kalasha (5030 speakers), Kalami (1500 speakers), Wakhi (5000 speakers), Dameli (5000 speakers), Phalura (10,000 speakers), Khowar (222,800 speakers), and Yidgha (5150 speakers).

I hadn't heard of many of these languages before. The project is open for partnerships and offers good resources and helpful advice on how these languages under threat can be recorded before they disappear. At the moment I don't see any Pakistani organisation or group among the partners. Does anyone know of similar work being done by any other international or Pakistani organisation to save or record the endangered languages in Pakistan?


  1. I'm worried about Urdu, let alone all these languages. The havoc created by Hindi cinema in our social fabric has also polluted this sweet oriental language with crude Hindi vocabulary. We don't even realise this fact, addressing the issue is a far cry. Rizwan

  2. Sir I read ur article,few languages,whom i know is that,one is kalami and usho and torwali languages.In your article,you write that kalami which is spoken by 1500 people,is u thing this,if u think this,its is uncorrect.becs its speak from Kalam to the farflung areas of utror ,gabral till the gilgit many peoples speaks that,and usho languages also spoke in these areses,while torwahlyi is languages speaks in bahrain i thinks that report is fabouls.