Mon, Nov 12, 2012 - Page 5 News List

FEATURE: Nepal’s Kusunda speaker mourns dying language

AFP, KATHMANDU

The tribe has been dying out for decades, with women marrying outside the blood line, and the language is perishing with it as many take to speaking Nepali.

“The native speakers shifted to other languages. Factors such as marriage outside their tribe, migration and modernization also contributed to the loss,” Pokharel said.

When King Mahendra dismissed the elected government in 1960 and put in its place an autocratic, partyless system which would govern Nepal for the next 30 years, the use of languages other than Nepali was discouraged.

With the end of a decade-long Maoist insurgency in 2006 and a revived focus on the rights of minorities, indigenous people have started to preserve their language and culture.

While it may be too late for Kusunda, Pokharel said a national institution was needed to try to protect Nepal’s other dying languages.

“Transferring language to a non-native speaker is important and indeed the only way to save it,” Pokharel said.

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