Recognition for voice of India’s hearing impaired

India spoke a whopping 780 languages and that 200 languages had vanished in the last 50 years.

Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Published: September 6, 2013 3:22 am

When Ganesh Devy of People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI),set out to map all languages spoken in the country,he was in for a few surprises. He discovered that India spoke a whopping 780 languages and that 200 languages had vanished in the last 50 years. He also found languages that had never been documented. And that,sometimes,even the “unspoken” could constitute a language.

So PLSI’s inaugural release didn’t just see the release of 68 volumes of “spoken” Indian languages,but also an exclusive volume on Indian Sign Language (ISL) — a language used by millions of hearing impaired people in India.

“With 7 million people,India has the highest population of the hearing impaired in the world. About 5 million of them use ISL to communicate. Acknowledging that it exists and recognising it as a language is recognising the rights of these 5 million to express themselves,” Tanmoy Bhattacharya,who compiled the volume along with Surinder Randhawa and Nisha Grover,said.

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