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Khasi withdrawn from UNESCO's languages in danger list

PTI  Shillong, April 07, 2012
First Published: 10:37 IST(7/4/2012) | Last Updated: 10:39 IST(7/4/2012)

The Khasi language of Meghalaya has been withdrawn from the UNESCO's Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger as it is now considered as "safe".


The language is spoken by some 900,000 people in the state and is no longer in danger, UNESCO declared on its website on Friday.

Khasi is spoken in the region of the Khasi and Jaintia hills and is also known as Khasia, Khassee, Cossyah or Kyi.

This language of the Mon-Khmer linguistic branch and its status was reassessed by the editorial board of the Atlas, which concluded that Khasi may be classified as "safe" on UNESCO's scale of language vitality.

Recognized as "associate official language" in the state of Meghalaya since 2005, Khasi is widely used in several domains such as primary and secondary education, radio, television and religion, the UNESCO official website said.

Admitting that "some dialects" of Khasi are "dying" as they make way for the standardized variant, the editorial board said, it was pleased to acknowledge that "the future of this language seems to be assured."

Available in its online version since 2009, the Interactive Atlas is regularly updated based on feedback from linguists and speakers of endangered languages.

To date, the Atlas lists 2473 languages in danger in the world, classified in five degrees of vitality -- vulnerable, definitely endangered, severely endangered, critically endangered and extinct.

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