Archive for the ‘Nepal’ Category

Gyani Maiya Sen – last native speaker of Kusunda?

4 July 2012

Perhaps seven thousand years ago, millennia before the Kirant (Kirat) came and formed a kingdom, the Kusunda were already in Nepal. Hunter-gatherers of the forest, they call themselves the Mihaq.

Today, there are only two known fluent speakers of Kusunda (kgg): Kamala Khatri, who has left Nepal for work, and Gyani Maiya Sen, a 75-year-old woman who is excited about the research. The Kusunda have married exogamously and adopted the languages of their spouses, so that the language is not being transmitted to the next generation.

Madhav Prasad Pokharel, a professor at Tribhuvan University, has studied Kusunda for a decade and concludes that Kusunda is a language isolate, meaning it is unrelated to any other language.

One of Pokharel’s students, Bhojraj Gautam, learned to speak the language through working with Sen, and it appears he will be the last speaker of the language; the Nepal government has no program for Kusunda.

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Call for language planning policy in Nepal

29 May 2012

According to Wikipedia, Nepal has 0.02% of the world’s land, and according to the Ethnologue, it has 124 languages, which is 1.8% of the world’s 6909 languages that the Ethnologue catalogs.

Two days ago, time ran out for the the Nepali Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution, currently an interim document, and it is unclear what will happen next.

According to article five of the 2007 Interim Constitution of Nepal, “All the languages spoken as the mother tongue in Nepal are the national languages of Nepal” and “The Nepali Language in Devnagari script shall be the official language.”

Writing in the Kathmandu Post, Gopal Sijapati Magar calls for a language planning policy for the nation. The article discusses the need for both status and corpus planning as part of that policy.