Develop language learning apps, says National Sanskrit Varsity Chancellor Gopalaswami

Develop language learning apps, says National Sanskrit Varsity Chancellor Gopalaswami

July 26, 2021

Mysore/Mysuru: N. Gopalaswami, Chancellor, National Sanskrit University, Tirupati, has said that tribals should not be denied their right to education in their mother-tongue.

He was speaking at the valedictory session of the  53rd Foundation Day celebrations of Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) held here on July 19. 

He said mother-tongue is one’s own identity. Every individual should have a mastery over his or her own mother-tongue and should be able not only to speak but also read and write in their native language. “Our Indian languages are equally important as English. Language learning apps should be developed in regional languages and mother-tongues,” he added.

Prof. Rajesh Sachdev, Founder-Director, CIIL, who was the guest of honour, said they have to battle against the hegemony of English. All Indian languages should work in harmony. They cannot have monolingual schools (for example only English medium) in a multilingual country. A school child must be allowed to write his answers in Kannada or any regional language to the questions asked in English in his or her examination.

Prof. C.G. Venkatesha Murthy, Director, CIIL, said the Institute plans to launch the journal of endangered languages for the benefit of academicians and the indigenous communities. The Institute was committed to preservation and promotion of all Indian languages. Linguists and language specialists across the country must come forward to work with CIIL for the development of both the scheduled and non-scheduled languages of the country.

Prof. G. Hemantha Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore, who was the guest of honour, said India is a linguistic paradise, a treasure trove of languages. It is acknowledged nationwide for its linguistic and cultural diversity. The contribution of CIIL in sustaining the diversity and promoting the languages of India has been commendable. It was one of the first institutions to document tribal and border languages and to bring out the first grammar book and dictionaries of many languages that were not known to the rest of the world, he noted.

He said Prof. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, Founder-Director, CIIL and his successors have contributed for the success of this Institute in many ways. University of Mysore has a long association with the CIIL. The Institute was housed in the Varsity campus for almost 25 years before they moved to their own building. “We have watched and awed at the tremendous growth of this unique institute, one of its kind in the country that has been working relentlessly to perform the task mandated to it. We have allotted four acres of land for this Centre. Once a language is lost, humanity loses a part of our rich heritage,” he observed.

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The VC said the Institute has played an active role towards the development of Indian languages besides regularly advising and assisting the Central as well as the State Governments in all matters related to the languages of India both scheduled and non-scheduled. It continues to work on different aspects of language development such as language documentation, language description, corpus development, grammar studies, lexicographic studies, translation, testing and evaluation.

He said the indigenous languages of Karnataka must be preserved if not they will lose a significant part of the State’s heritage. There are 50 tribal languages in the State and it is important to document and describe them as early as possible before they vanish from the country. The CIIL through its ‘Scheme for Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages’ has undertaken projects on Siddi, Hakki-Pikki and Soliga, three of the tribal languages which have less than 10,000 speakers with a goal of preparing dictionaries, grammars and ethno-linguistic sketches.

Prof. Umarani Pappuswamy, Professor-cum-Deputy Director, CIIL, proposed a vote of thanks.

During the three-day celebrations from July 17 – 19, Suman Dixit, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Education, Department of Higher Education, Government of India and Prof. Nicholas Evans, Director, ARC Centre for Excellence for the Dynamics of Language and Distinguished Professor in Linguistics, Australian National University, Australia, participated.


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