Of the 50 languages that are spoken in Karnataka, eight are potentially endangered and two critical endangered, according to a survey conducted by the Peoples’ Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI), an organisation that is conducting a nation-wide survey of Indian languages.
Languages spoken by the tribal communities of Koraga, Badaga, Yerava, Irula, Soliga, Gouli, Jenukuruba and Bettakuruba are said to be “potentially endangered”.
Siddi language spoken by the Siddi tribe of Uttara Kannada district and Hakki Pikki language of the nomadic tribes have been identified as “critically endangered”.
The organisation, headed by renowned scholar G.N. Devy, has said that a language is classified “potentially endangered” when less than 10,000 are using it. Languages not spoken by the younger generation of a particular community is categorised “critically endangered”.
The organisation is soon bringing out a volume on languages of Karnataka based on the survey conducted. While the Kannada version of the volume is being published by Akshara Prakashana of Heggodu, the English version is being brought out by Orient BlackSwan.
Prof. Devy said that 70 volumes on Indian languages and sign language are being brought out across India based on the findings of a nationwide survey.
The volumes will be released on September 5 to mark the 125th birth anniversary of the former President S. Radhakrishnan.
As many as 24 scholars from Karnataka and other States have contributed to the 290-page volume on Kannada. “It is a monumental documentation in the field of linguistic survey of India,” said H.M. Maheshwaraiah, editor of the volume.