Responsive image

News & Events

About the Centre

The Centre for Endangered Languages, Tezpur University was established in 2014 with the aim of conducting substantial research on the lesser known and endangered languages of Northeast India and to revitalize them with the direct and indirect institutional intervention. It is because each and every language embodies the unique cultural and historical wisdom of a people. The loss of any language is thus an irrevocable loss for all humanity. Yet, according to a recent UNESCO report - Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger (2009) - out of the approximately 7,000 existing languages in the world more than 2,500 are under threat of imminent extinction. They may be extinct even before the next century begins.

As for Indian languages, 196 are currently endangered according to the above mentioned report. On the other hand, according to the 2001 census, most of these languages (including two scheduled languages, viz., Bodo and Manipuri) are located in Northeast India. Speakers of many of the languages in North East India, which belong to different language families, are rather small in number ranging from 1000 to 10,000. With the new generations sharply shifting to dominant languages in order to ensure jobs for themselves these languages are now increasingly under threat of being extinct.

In this pretext, as a response to a proposal from the faculties of Linguistics, the University Grants Commission has approved to set up a Centre for Endangered Languages of Northeast at this University which will work as an effective agency for preserving and promoting the endangered languages of the region.


To help the endangered language communities to revive and maintain their languages and also instill the sense of loyalty towards their native language.


  • To make the Centre one of the best centres working on endangered languages in the country and worldwide.
  • To create a database of all such languages comprising grammatical descriptions, dictionaries and documentation.


The prime objects of the Centre are

  • To undertake inter departmental and inter disciplinary research related to endangered languages.
  • To undertake fieldwork, research, analysis, archiving and documentation of smaller indigenous/endangered languages using stat-of the art speech and language technologies, in formats that are universally acceptable viz, digitized textual, audio and video formats
  • To produce and publish monographs, grammars, grammatical sketches,dictionaries and lexicon, ethno-linguistic and theoretical descriptions,collection of oral and folk literature  and scholarly books on endangered languages.
  • To produce language and dialect atlases with special reference to minority and endangered languages.
  • To organize workshops and seminars aimed towards promoting advanced research related to endangered languages.
  • To train teachers and students from other departments/centres in Field Linguistics, Lexicography and in techniques for data management and documentation. Field linguistics would constitute an indispensable part of the Centre.
  • The Centre should serve the indigenous and endangered language communities by making accessible the products of the research of the Centre, i.e., digital and analogue archives of linguistic data, language teaching material, and language artifacts.
  • To promote and foster various domains of endangered languages so as to ensure minority/endangered language communities in maintaining and preserving language vitality, including the development of orthographical resources like scripts, book of letters, and primers.
  • To digitize data collected in the course of the research in the Centre and make it available to public by internet.
  • In the initial phases this Centre shall and may draw resources (such as man power, labs, books, students, etc) from other centres of languages, linguistics, folklore, anthropology, and literature in the university but eventually should conceive of forming an independent centre purely devoted to the issues of endangered and indigenous languages.


At present the UGC has recognized Tezpur University as a nodal Centre for the cluster which comprises Tezpur University, Rajiv Gandhi University and Sikkim University. Tezpur University is entrusted with the responsibility to work on the languages of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland in this context.


The Centre aspires to be one of the hubs for research on endangered languages in India. The Centre will describe, document and digitize the endangered languages of NE region.



  • To publish linguistic multi-lingual dictionaries of every undertaken language.
  • To publish descriptive grammar of every undertaken language.
  • To create online and digital corpus for every undertaken language.


  • Field Assistants and researchers will conduct field work to collect primary data of each language undertaken by the Centre.
  • The Centre will conduct workshop for data elicitation and analysis.


  • To produce a few PhD and Post-Doctoral research in the next 5 years.
  • Through its Masters' program MA in Linguistics and Endangered Languages, a group of trained and motivated scholars will be produced.


  • The Centre and the Department are already running the MA in Linguistics and Endangered Languages since 2015 onwards.
  • The Field Assistants and Research Assistants are also encouraged to enroll as PhD scholars in the Department/Centre.


  • To develop reading materials like story books and orthographic resources like script, books of letters, primers etc.
  • To work towards the revitalization of minority/endangered languages through school education.


  • The human resources from the Centre will frequently visit the members of the endangered language communities in their places and hold discussion, meetings etc. on the issue of the importance of passing their languages to the next generation.
  • The Centre will work to provide the e-access of language data to all through a consortium of these languages at Tezpur University.
  • To provide support to the native speakers of these languages in the language-awareness programs in their communities.
  • To help bringing these languages to the sphere of modern technologies.