The Rise of Ethnic Consciousness and the Politicization of Language in West-Central Nepal

Noonan, Michael

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Abstract

In this paper the author provides a bit of background for this state of affairs and in the process describe the state of play between the rise of ethnic consciousness, attitudes toward language, and the state of language endangerment of some Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples of west-central Nepal. The main points to be discussed are that language issues have not yet been pushed to the forefront of the political agenda in this part of Nepal, that ethnic organizations are still at the beginning stages of dealing with matters of documentation, standardization, and orthography of their ancestral languages, and that primary education in minority languages is vital for language preservation. One consequence of all this is that the uses of print and electronic media that have been important in language preservation efforts of minority languages in other parts of the world are having little effect in this region of Nepal. After a general discussion of the state of minority languages in Nepal, the author illustrates these matters with examples taken from the experiences of the Chantyal, Gurung, Magar, and Tamang commu-nities, speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily in west-central Nepal.

Document type: Article
Date: 2006
Version: Primary publication
Date Deposited: 10 December 2008
DDC-classification: Other languages
Controlled Subjects: Nepal <West>, Ethnizität, Sprachpolitik
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnisches Bewusstsein , Sprachenpolitik , Ethnische Politisierung, Nepal , Ethnicity , Lanuage Politics , Politicization
Subject (classification): Politics
Linguistics
Countries/Regions: Nepal
Series: People > Electronic Publications by Michael Noonan
Volume: 14