Nagaland governor P.B. Acharya on Friday stressed the need for preserving and learning mother tongue, urging the primary schools not to root out mother tongue while teaching in English as children must understand ideas and acquire knowledge through their mother tongue.
Acharya was speaking at the release of a book titled “Key words: A glossary of sixteen Nagaland languages” at Hotel Japfü here Friday. The book was published by Kohima Education Trust (KET) and Kohima Educational Society (KES) a charity founded by the British veterans of the Battle of Kohima.
Acharya also called upon the gathering to preserve culture because culture was not only way of life but also deep rooted in language.
Governor lauded the Author of the book for strengthening the identity of Naga society and KET for its effort. Giving an introduction to glossary, KES president Charles Chasie said that brining out the “key words” was initiated by veteran of the Battle of Kohima and founder of KET, Dr. Gordon Graham.
He said the idea was to select the most common words and phrases that people use in everyday communication that could be learnt to converse with each other and foster the feeling of oneness and belongingness.
Chasie said that such work would assist researchers and others and protect “our” tribe languages which were “vulnerable” and “endangered”.
He said the book has been titled “key words” and the work remained a glossary and not a dictionary in the strict sense of the term.
On the use of 16 languages in the book, Chasie informed that only 16 recognised tribe languages in Nagaland were used while some languages have been left out because some languages were made up of two or more sub tribes.
Chasie announced that KET/KES would be instituting “Dr. Gorddon Graham prize” for Naga literature starting next year.
He said the award was aimed at recognising and rewarding the knowledge keepers and idea givers in Naga society and meant to encourage reading and writing.
KES president said ward would be open to any Naga living anywhere, adding that the first announcement would be made in January 2016.
“Key words” is researched and produced by both international and local linguistic experts, including those from departments of information and public relations and school education Nagaland.
The book features over 2,900 commonly used words and phrases, their equivalents in sixteen Nagaland languages recognised by government of Nagaland: Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Kachari, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchunger and Zeliang; complied by reference to English headwords, with foreword by the Duke of York. It was informed that the book would be made available soon at Western Book Depot Kohima, Crossword Kohima and Modern Book Dimapur.