Language Commission begins collecting suggestions

Kathmandu, November 23

The Language Commission, which was formed by the Cabinet on September 8, has started collecting suggestions from experts.

The commission was formed to preserve and promote various languages spoken in the country as per the new constitution. Dr Laba Deo Awasthi, chairman of the commission, said the government has given four tasks to the Language Commission.

The commission needs to accomplish them within five years.

The commission has been assigned to determine official language of the country. It has also been tasked with suggesting to the government the language of instruction in academic institutions at different levels.

The body will conduct research and maintain a record of various endangered languages as well other native languages spoken in the country.

“As per the mandate given to us, we will recommend the official language after a study on various languages spoken throughout the country,” said Dr Awasthi.

Although the commission was formed over two months ago, it has yet to get full shape. The position of seven members of the commission still remains vacant. “Once it gets full shape, the commission might also expand to the provinces,” he said.

The commission had organised a programme yesterday to collect suggestions from experts to begin its work.

Prof Madhav Pokharel, a linguist suggested to the commission to preserve 14 languages that are on verge of extinction. He stated that though the 2011 National census listed 123 languages spoken as a mother tongue in Nepal, hardly 100 languages are spoken in reality.

“People from various ethnic communities and indigenous nationalities have stopped talking in their mother tongue,” Prof Pokharel, said adding, “Therefore, such languages should be preserved and promoted.”

Nabaraj Kattel, who writes in Sanskrit language, said the language that is understood by 70 per cent of the national population should be made the official language.

“The government should promote teaching and learning in local languages and mother tongues,” he added.