Dictionaries of tribal languages to be compiled
Siddu R G Halli Mysore: As many as 50 scheduled tribes exist in state; KSTRI approaches CIIL for the task
Karnataka State Tribal Research Institute (KSTRI), Mysore in a bid to preserve tribal languages on the verge of extinction, will compile dictionaries of these languages.
With more than 50 scheduled tribes in the state, KSTRI has taken up the initiative of compiling the complete details of six tribal languages of Hasalas, Siddis, Eruligas, Malekudiyas, Maratis and Tokrikolis.
KSTRI has approached the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) in the city with a proposal to compile dictionaries of words in these languages. KSTRI will assist in financing the project, providing basic facilities to lexicographers and other administrative assistances, while CIIL has been requested to take up technical responsibilities of the project.
It can be noted that a large number of tribal languages in the state are without a script and the languages are restricted to particular tribes scattered across the state.
Experts opine that these languages are vernaculars derived from Dravidian languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
The languages are staring at extinction as the number of people using the language has dropped gradually due to social, economic and educational factors.
Information for the study and compilation of dictionaries will begin by consulting primary and secondary sources by employing techniques such as audio, video recording, discussions and other means.
According to 2001 census, scheduled tribes accounted to 6.5 per cent of the population in the state.
Even though the literacy rate of the state was at 67 per cent, it was observed that tribals lagged behind with a literacy rate of 48 per cent.
KSTRI was established in Mysore in 2011 for the cause of research and conserving culture and language of tribals in the state while conducting camps to educate and train them.
Director of KSTRI, T T Basavangowda said that the dictionaries will be compiled in a period of five to six years, after which research for dictionaries of other tribal languages will be taken up.