Language Death versus Language Survival

Naheed Qasim
The Phrase ‘language death’ sounds as stark and final as any other in which that word makes its unwelcome appearance and it has similar implications and resonances. According to David Crystal to say that a language is dead is just like saying that a person is dead. It could be no other way to say that language has no existence without people.
A language dies when nobody speaks it any more. It has been estimated that there are approximately 5,000–6,000 living languages in the world; it depends, of course, on how we understand languages as opposed to dialects and that about one half of these are going to vanish in the course of the 21st century. According to some other sources there are 51 languages with only one speaker left: 8 in the USA, 3 in South America, 3 in Africa, 6 in Asia, 28 in Australia, and 3 in the Pacific Ocean islands. Nearly 500 languages have fewer than 100 speakers; 1,500 languages are spoken by fewer than 1,000 speakers; over 3,000 languages have up to 10,000 speakers; and 5,000 languages have no more than 100,000 speakers.
Pakistan is a country with at least six major languages and 58 minor ones. The national language, Urdu, has over 11 million mother-tongue speakers while those who use it as a second language could well be more than 105 million. The major languages spoken in Pakistan according to the 1998 census are Punjabi 66,225,000; Pashto 23,130,000; Sindhi 21,150,000; Siraiki 15,795,000; Urdu 11,355,000; Balochi 5,355,000; Others 6,990,000. Due to supremacy of Urdu language all other minor languages of Pakistan have been deprived of its right and many of them enter into endangered circle; but on the contrary Urdu language is losing its influence due to dominance of English language in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a country with at least six major languages and 58 minor ones

In Balochistan, Balochi, Pashto and Brahvi are the main languages. There is also number of minor language such as Hazargi, Kethrani, Jaffricki, Lasi etc. But today the hottest debatable question is that how many languages in the Balochistan are at the point of death? how many are endangered? And what’s the role of government or various academies such as, Brahvi academy, Balochi academy, Pashto academy and Hazargi academy in Balochistan to promote and save these endangered languages in Balochistan? These academies are operational to some extent at small scale level but these undersized efforts are not enough to uphold or put aside any language, circling in endangered zone. There is a need that these academies should employ themselves in immense efforts in order to promote their language.
Government of Balochistan is also not showing any serious concern regarding this issue; although on 3rd February, 2014 the government of Balochistan has passed a bill of mother language as compulsory additional subject at primary level but still no enactment has been taken out for endorsement of this bill in educational institutes. Although it is obligatory to practically implement the above mentioned bill in the academic institutes in order to save the number of minor or major endangered languages in Pakistan particularly in Balochistan. Local language TV programs such as Bolan TV are playing their vital role in promotion of Balochistan major local languages, but they are avoiding some minor languages such as Kethrani and no effort has been done for endorsement of this language.
Different countries in the world are doing work to prop up, or save their language and formulate various language plans and polices to save endangered language and provide a prominent place to their language in the world languages circle. Pakistan government especially Balochistan government should make different language policies and put together the efforts in order to promote or give chance to endangered language to survive in the world languages circle.
Writer is a M.Phil Scholar from Kohlu district.
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