Prime minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) on March 15, 2001 while the premier inaugurated it on 21 February, 2010. IMLI is the institutional outcome of the International Mother Language Day, which is being celebrated on 21st February since November, 1999. The main purpose of the IMLI is to preserve and protect endangered languages of the world as well as to develop languages that have remained on the fringe of modern civilisation. Dr Jinnat Imtiaz Ali, Professor of linguistics, University of Dhaka, Director General of the IMLI spoke to The Daily Star about ongoing activities of the institute and languages that are gradually becoming extinct and obsolete. Excerpts:
“According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Linguistic Rights and Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, Language is called the tangible and intangible phenomenon of culture. Our National Education Policy aims to provide primary education to children of indigenous and ethnic minority groups in their mother languages, which is a fundamental right.
“A checklist for Ethno-linguistic survey will be done by three specialists including myself. The Department of Anthropology of Dhaka University will oversee the work-plan with assistance from other departments — Linguistics, Sociology, Bengali, English and Geography and Environmental Science — of all the public universities.
“After carrying out the survey-http://www.thedailystar.net/entertainment/spotlight-on-internationalising-bangla-language-9352