Archiving Saimar: An endangered Indian language

Barely four people, the oldest among them a 70-year-old tribal, speak a language which is on the brink of extinction. Spoken in a tiny village in Tripura, ‘Saimar’ has been identified as a “severely” endangered language.

Mr. Burman, who is involved in Bhasha Mandakini with CIIL, Central Institute of Indian Languages, said he could understand the Saimar language, but couldn’t speak it. There is little dialectical difference in the languages spoken by the 18 Halam groups.

Saimar is spoken only at Gantachera village in Tripura. The people speaking this language are agricultural labourers and farmers. “Saimar is hard to speak because some of the words are difficult to pronounce.”

In 2009, there were approximately 25 Saimar-speaking tribals, and today only four are remaining — Mr. Sukurthang Saimar, his wife, grandson and a senior lady.

CIIL is collecting data from Mr Saimar [through a translator] on the language for creating an archive of the language.

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