Strengthening languages in the Hindukush Region

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Islamabad 12 August 2016: A five days Collaborative Language Research Workshop held at Forum for Language Initiative, FLI Islamabad. Explaining the goal of the workshop Professor Dr. Henrik Liljegren said that ‘’the goal is to produce a linguistic profile of the languages of the Hindukush Region, an area comprising the mountainous north-eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and the northern-most part of Kashmir. The region is characterized by linguistic diversity (ab. 50 languages, incl. Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, Tibeto-Burman, Turkic and the isolate Burushaski) and a high level of multilingualism’’.

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Dr. Henrik said that ‘’we have already organized five days similar workshop for thirteen languages last year and it is continuation of the same project to get more details of the languages spoken in aforesaid Region’’.

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FLI is a place for training and resource centre working to enable the language communities of northern Pakistan to preserve and promote their mother tongues.

The language of the Kalasha is a sub-branch of the Indo-Aryan group, itself part of the larger Indo-European family. It is classified as a member of the Chitral sub-group, the only other member of that group being Khowar.

Norwegian Linguist Georg Morgenstierne believes that in spite of similarities, Kalasha is an independent language in its own right.

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Apart from research per se, Dr.Henrik Liljegren is engaged in revitalization efforts (orthography and local literature development, mother-tongue literacy, etc.), mentoring language activists from various communities to collect and organize data, and in building networks between local communities and organizations

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The following language community were part of the five days’ workshop and contributed to collaborative research Dr. Muhammad Kamal Khan (Pashto), Dr. Khawaja Rehman (Kashmiri), Ms. Uzma Anjum (pothwari), Mr. Luke Rehmat (Kalashamondr), Mr. Raja Hasrat (Hinko), Mr. Shahid Rehman (Gojri), Dr. Muhammad Nawaz (Hinko) and Mr. Ghulam (Kundashahi).

On the conclusion day Mr. Fakhruddin Akhunzada emphasis on linguistic community to come forward to play their role. He said that ‘’you’re the people who understands the importance of mother tongue education and value of language and culture diversity, and you need to take lead role to preserve the small languages from extinction’’

The participants appreciated efforts of FLI and Dr. Henrik to bring them together for the wonderful initiative. They asked concerns to organized more such training workshops.

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Dr. Kamal invited Professor Henrik to Shahid Benazir Butto University to organize such informative workshop in his campus to reach more students and mobilize their energy for the preservation of minor languages in the Hindukush Region.

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