Can translations save India’s endangered ‘mother tongues’?

In “Translation as Culture”, an article which theorises her work with Mahasweta Devi’s fiction, Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak writes of the irreducible emotional and ethical charge of translating from the mother tongue: “...translation in the narrow sense...is also a peculiar act of reparation – toward the language of the inside, a language in which we are [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:21:46+00:00October 3rd, 2017|Endangered Languages, India, Translation|0 Comments

Seven decades after Independence, many small languages in India face extinction threat

The last leg of the 15-km journey from Jalgaon Jamod in north Maharashtra to the tiny village of Sonbardi is arduous and nauseating, especially right after breakfast. A rattling autorickshaw speeding on a road with crater-like potholes makes us wish we were walking instead. As we get closer and the Satpura hill range on the [...]

By |2017-08-14T13:18:11+00:00August 14th, 2017|India, Languages|0 Comments

400 Indian Languages Face the Threat of Extinction: Study

Almost 10 percent of the world’s 4,000 languages that face the threat of extinction are spoken in India. Linguist Ganesh N Devy says that while English posed no real threat to major Indian languages, the most threatened languages are the ones spoken in the coastal areas of the country. Devy, chairman, People's Linguistic Survey of [...]

By |2017-08-07T11:43:41+00:00August 7th, 2017|India, Indian languages, Languages|0 Comments

A tiny Indian publisher is translating hidden gems of world literature for global readers

“It isn’t about size. Or the scale. It is about the choice. The instinct that allows you to take the risk to step outside the structures the world of corporate publishing has so magnificently set up. And publish books that in your opinion need to be read.” The mission statement of Seagull Books says it [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:21:53+00:00July 7th, 2017|India, Literature, Publishing, Translation|0 Comments

The rise of Hinglish: How the media created a new lingua franca for India’s elites

Dominated by the Congress, India’s Constituent Assembly usually witnessed little disagreement. There was one exception, however: language. It was the last major issue discussed by the Constituent Assembly and rocked the body. Should English or Hindi be India’s official language? Hindi plants a flag Like all questions of identity, the matter was really a cover [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:21:57+00:00June 21st, 2017|Hinglish, India, Language|0 Comments

Prevented From Intermingling With Hindi By Language Police, Urdu Dies A Slow Death

In March, the Center told the Supreme Court that it was open to the suggestion of conducting NEET, a single window entrance test for admissions for MBBS and BDS courses, in the Urdu language from the next academic year. This has rekindled the debate on the present state and the future of Urdu language. Every [...]

By |2017-06-12T20:28:30+00:00June 13th, 2017|Hindi language, India, Languages, Urdu language|0 Comments

India’s Endangered Languages Need to Be Digitally Documented

Every two weeks, a language dies and with it, a wealth of knowledge forever. In India alone, there exist more than 780 languages. The rate at which languages are dying here is extremely high as over 220 languages have died in the last 50 years. In India, 197 languages are categorised as endangered. These are [...]

Regional-Language Films Power Indian Entertainment Industry’s Growth

A staggering 1,907 films in 41 languages were certified in India in the 2015-16 timeframe. The Hindi-language industry led the way with 340 films, followed by Tamil with 291, Telugu (275), Kannada (204), Marathi (181) and Malayalam (168). The Indian film industry grew overall by 3% in the financial year 2016-17, but domestic theatrical declined [...]

Indian State Says It’ll Require Study of Sanskrit, Raising Eyebrows

The government of the northeastern Indian state of Assam announced this week that Sanskrit, the ancient Hindu language of the Brahmin priesthood, would now be mandatory for students in the upper grades of all public high schools. Wider teaching of Sanskrit has been championed by activists from the Bharatiya Janata Party and Hindu nationalists, who [...]

By |2017-03-05T15:27:52+00:00March 5th, 2017|India, Language, Sanskrit|0 Comments

The people behind India’s first sign language dictionary

Apart from a few clicks on computer keyboards and the routine shuffling of paper, it is very quiet at this office in the capital, Delhi. A group of 15 people here are working on the massive task of compiling more than 7,000 signs that deal with words used in academic, medical, legal, technical and routine [...]

By |2017-03-03T15:07:25+00:00March 3rd, 2017|Dictionary, India, Sign language|0 Comments