Walmiki and Malhar, two new languages discovered

Researchers have discovered two new languages- Walmiki and Malhar.

Key facts

  • The languages are categorized `endangered’ as the number of people speaking is small. These languages are spoken in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Only a few people living in the forest and hilly areas speak these languages.
  • Walmiki is spoken in Koraput of Odisha and on the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh. Walmiki is an isolate language i.e. it does not belong to a family of languages. The name of the language is also interesting and indicative because the speech community claims descent from the great Indian saint-poet Valmiki.

Malhar is spoken in a remote and isolated hamlet which is almost 165 km from Bhubaneswar. The community consists of about 75 speakers including children. It belongs to the North Dravidian subgroup of the Dravidian family of languages and has close affinities with the other North Dravidian languages like Malto and Kurux spoken in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar.

Background:

The Union Government has been making efforts to document the endangered tribal and minor languages. There are several languages unknown to the world and waiting to be discovered and documented. India is also considered linguists Paradise and termed a sociolinguistic giant.

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