FLI to organize conference on International Mother Language Day

Gul Hamaad Farooqi
Islamabad, February 19Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI), Bakrawal Mobile School Trust and Indus Kohistan Cultural and Development Organization plan to arrange a conference on the eve of International Mother Languages Day (IMLD), February 21.Researchers, social workers, politicians and people associated with language preservations and cultural activities will attend this conference to be held at Community Centre Hall Abpara, Islamabad.

Pakistan is home to about 65 languages and about 27 of these are spoken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and due to lack of institutional support many of these languages are now endangered and some are likely to die soon. UNESCO has listed more than 20 languages as extremely endangered.

ILMD has been celebrated every year on February 21 since 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This year’s theme of IMLD is “Local languages for global citizenship: spotlight on science” UNESCO highlights importance of mother tongue as part of the right to education and encourages its member states to promote instructions and education in the mother tongues.

It is worth to mention here that some 14 languages are spoken in Chitral. Main communicative language is Khowar and there are sheikhwar, kalashwar, Persian in Madaglasht valley, Dangariwaar, Bioriwaar,  Dardic langanuage known as Chitrali language. According to the research of Rehmat Aziz Chitrali, Director Khowar Academy most of the minority languages spoken in Chitral are also Dardic including KalashaGawarbatiDameliMadaklashtiKirghizi and PalulaIranian languages spoken by immigrant groups in Chitral include PashtoPersian, and Wakhi. An indigenous Iranian language spoken in Chitral is Yidgha. There are also migrants from  Nuristan who speak several Nuristani dialects. Finally there is a large community of  Gujjar herdsmen who were originally nomadic, but have now settled permanently in parts of Lower Chitral and they speak the Indo-Aryan Gojri Language.

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