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The government has initiated a scheme to protect, preserve and document endangered Indian languages - spoken by less than 10,000 people, parliament was told Wednesday.
Under the scheme "Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India", Mysore-based Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) is working on the protection, preservation and documentation of endangered languages.
"Keeping in mind the degree of endangerment and reduction in the domains of usage, the institute looks after preservation of these Indian languages," Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
According to the criteria adopted by Unesco, a language becomes extinct when nobody speaks or remembers the language.
Unesco has categorised languages on basis of endangerment as: vulnerable, definitely endangered, severely endangered and critically endangered.
Some critically endangered languages as per Unesco are: Aimol, spoken in Manipur; Baghati spoken in Himachal Pradesh; Nihali spoken in Maharashtra; Toto in West Bengal and Toda in Tamil Nadu, among others.