A two-day national language conference was held here to save languages and dialects spoken by tribal nomadic communities, from extinction.

The confluence organised by city-based Bhasha research and publication centre called for commencement of short term courses on tribal languages in each of the State to preserve it.

The meet, which ended on Tuesday also sought help from the State and central government for publishing literature in tribal languages.

Eminent linguist and the founder director of Central Institute of Indian Language D. P. Pattanayak requested the Centre to conduct a linguistic survey to get a know-how of all the languages spoken in small adivasi communities.

Ganesh Devi, founder trustee of Bhasha Research and publication centre said, the meet was organised with a view to battle the erosion of Indian languages - bhashas - and for conservation of oral traditions of marginalised communities.

“While the Centre’s (established in 1996) efforts have resulted in improvement of some of Bhilli group languages one feels pained to see how many Indian languages have become extinct, and how rapidly.”

“In the census reports of 1961, a total of 1652 mother tongues were mentioned. Several hundred of these are no longer traceable. During the first half of the twentieth century, India reportedly lost about one—fifth of its languages, during the second half of the last century, we have lost about one third of the remaining languages,” Ms. Devi said at the conference.

Speakers from various parts of the country participating in this conference were of the opinion that if languages (bhashas) contined to dwindle at this rate, in the next 50 years most of them will see extinction .

Representatives of over 300 bhashas representing all States and Union Territories of India participated in the event.

The participants spanned from four generations, from eminent octogenarians like Mahasveta Devi, Narayanbhai Desai and D. P. Pattanayak, to young students in their early twenties from across the country.