Orthography Workshop Held in Chitral for the Yidgha Language

The Forum for LanguIMG_1856age Initiatives (FLI) held a five day orthography workshop for the Yidgha language community in Chitral from September 29 to October 03, 2015. Twelve persons (both men and women) including teachers, local researchers, language activists, and writers from the language community attended the workshop, which aimed at training them in how to document their mother tongue, Yidgha.

Yidgha is spoken in Lotkuh, a valley lying some 46 km west of Chitral town, and is one of the 23 languages of Pakistan that UNESCO has declared as ‘on the verge of extinction’ for being just oral languages and undocumented.

This workshop was part of a project FLI has initiated to document four endangered languages in Chitral and Swat so as to preserve them from elimination with financial assistance from USAID’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program (SGAFP-USAID). The workshop was focused on discovering the unique sounds in Yidgha and developing a writing system for this language that is losing ground even in its home region. The workshop will be followed by additional activities including the publishing of a book of folktales in Yidgha. This allows the Yidgha language researchers to be provided with further trainings under the project, as well as furthering the impact of documentation efforts. Mr. Naseem Haider and Farid Ahmed Raza facilitated the workshop.

Though Yidgha was previously just a verbal dialect, this workshop has provided an opportunity to document the sounds of the language in written form. Participants have now received the training necessary to take their keen interest in preserving and promoting their mother tongue and channel it into tangible activities, including being able to finally write in their mother tongue. Hopefully, there will soon be stories, poems, and anecdotes also published in the Yidgha language. The combination of these community members’ commitment and their newfound training may be a huge factor in saving the Yidgha language from fading into history.

Collaborative Language Research Workshop held at FLI

Organized and facilDSC_0581itated by Dr. Henrik Liljegren, Associate Professor at the Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, Sweden from 12 to16 October, 2015 at FLI’s premises in Islamabad the project aimed at documenting the linguistic features of the languages spoken in the Himalayan region.

The event, titled as Collaborative Language Research Workshop (CLRW) as part of a larger research project was sponsored by Swedish Research Council. The identification of any substantial relations between the languages of Hindukush-Karakoram region was sought through various methods of interaction during the event.

The participants represented over 13 languages, spoken in different parts of northern Pakistan and AJK. The languages represented in this event were Bateri, Dameli, Gawarbati, Gawri, Indus Kohistani, Kalkoti, Kashmiri, Khowar, Palula, Shina, Torwali, Ushojo and Yidgha.

Workshop for Gawarbati Language Community, Chitral held

Forum for LanguaIMG_1613ge Initiatives (FLI) held a 5-day orthographic workshop from 24 to 28 August 2015, for Gawarbati Language Community in Drosh, Chitral, under Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program of USAID to provide the community with a program, comprising of documentation techniques and training for preservation and promotion of their mother tongue.

10 people including researchers, teachers and writers from the community participated in the workshop. The workshop was first of its kind for this language community and most of the participants had not been exposed to such programs earlier, especially concerning to linguistic issues. The objectives of the same were, though not limited to discover the existing SOUNDS, peculiar SOUNDS unique to Gawarbati language. Bringing out especial Characters from the language was another task and how to articulate that Characters into words and also placing Spelling for them.

 

Gawarbati is spoken in Arandu, Arandu Gol (Ramram) in Lower Chitral and in some hamlets on Afghan side bordering Chitral. Gawarbati language is called in Chitral “Aranaduiwar” and “Kohistani” as well. Earlier, Gawarbati used to be an oral dialect and speakers of this language had never dreamed of their mother tongue to be in written form. This workshop gave them a hope, a confidence and most importantly a way to document their language first then use it as a medium of communication like other languages. The participants were facilitated by Mr. Naseem Haider and Mr. Farid Ahmad Raza. FLI has plans to hold more training programs for this language community in future.

Workshop held for preservation of Dameli Language, Chitral

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Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI), Islamabad held a one-week Advanced Orthography Workshop for the language community of Dameli on Jul 22-26 with financial assistance from Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program of USAID. The Workshop was held in Aspar village in Damel Valley of Chitral. 15 people from the community comprising of local writers, researchers and teachers attended the workshop. FLI’s training facilitators Mr. Inamullah, Mr. Nasim Haider and a reputed Khowar language promoter Mr. Farid Ahmad Raza assisted the workshop participants in learning the language documentation processes. The main objectives of the workshop were to help the community to discover the grammatical structure and enhance the work to standardize the writing system of the language. UNESCO has declared ‘Dameli’ one of the extremely endangered languages of Pakistan. FLI with support of community language researchers is committed to preserve this language along with other national heritages of Pakistan. The workshop was one of the series of activities FLI has planned in its one-year project supported by Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program of USAID. Gawarbati and Yidgha of Chitral while Ushojo of Swat are the languages to be covered by the project. The workshop will be followed –up with field works and publications in vernacular languages.

Orthographic workshop for Ushojo Language Community, Swat held

Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) held a 5-day orthographic workshop for Ushojo Language Community in Bishigram, Swat, under Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program of USAID to provide the community with a program, comprising of documentation techniques and training for preservation and promotion of their mother tongue.

 

Up to 16 people including researchers, teachers and writers from the community participated in the workshop. Many of them had not been exposed to such programs earlier, especially concerning to linguistic issues while this workshop was first of its nature to be held in the area. The objectives of the same were, though not limited to discover the existing SOUNDS, peculiar SOUNDS unique to Ushojo language. Bringing out especial Characters from the language was another task and how to articulate that Characters into words and also placing Spelling for them.

 

Earlier, Ushojo used to be an oral dialect and speakers of this language had never dreamed of their mother tongue to be in written form. This workshop gave them a hope, a confidence and most importantly a way to document their language first then use it as a medium of communication like other languages. They vowed to form an organization for promotion of their mother tongue. The participants were facilitated by Mr. Inamullah, Mr. Naseem Haider and Mr. Farid Ahmad. FLI has plans to hold more programs for this language community in future. DSC01966 DSC01979

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Closing ceremony of project “Mashal-e-Rah”

The Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) has reached an
important milestone in its
service to the language communities of the north as theSida-PMU funded ‘Mashal-e-Rah’ project concludes and a new project begins. To celebrate it a ceremony  was held in  Islamabadon 13 March. Presentations about the project and its achievements  were made, and some individuals were  recognized for their contributions. The ceremony named “Celebrating Achievement” was attended by the official of FLI’s partner organizations , Director UNESCO Islamabad, 2nd Mission officer Swedish embassy, MNA Chitral. Dr. Joan Baart, professor Dr. Naseem and people from 16 language communities.

 

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FLI launched 8th book of its language and cultural series

The Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) has launched a new book, Palula Text, the 8th book of its Cultural and Language Series.

Palula Text, penned down jointly by Dr. Henrik Liljegren, a field linguist at Stockholm University, Sweden, and Naseem Haider, a local researcher in FLI, who is himself a native speaker of Palula, is a result of linguistic research about the Palula language, the second largest language of chitral. MNA Chitral prince Iftikhar Uddin launched the book. The language is spoken in lower part of Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.