Supporting and Sustaining Language Vitality in Northern Pakistan

Authored by: Henrik Liljegren

The Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138674493
eBook ISBN: 9781315561271
Adobe ISBN:


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Northern Pakistan is linguistically and culturally very diverse. Nearly 30 languages—representing a wide span, numerically and vitality-wise—are spoken in this mountainous region, sharing ties with adjacent areas of neighboring countries. Although most of these languages have received little outside recognition, there have been few restrictions for those wanting to promote their languages. Therefore, a number of sustaining efforts have been made in recent years, exemplified throughout the chapter: collaborative fieldwork, the formation of language organizations, training in documentation, the development of orthographies, publications, the introduction of mother-tongue schools, and lobbying for the region’s languages. Evaluating some of those activities and their effectiveness in terms of language maintenance and revitalization, some key factors stand out: community ownership, institutional support, pooling of resources, and multi-community collaboration. The observations and subsequent analysis are informed by the author’s own long-term involvement in the development of the Forum for Language Initiatives.

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