NEILAC

North Eastern Institute of Language and Culture

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On January 14, 2024, NEILAC reached a major milestone by releasing the first-ever Aka (Koro) Language Textbook, showcasing its deep commitment to preserving ecological knowledge and linguistic heritage through bilingual education in the region. The release ceremony was officiated by Er. Tage Taki, the distinguished Minister of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Diary Development, and Fishery for the Government of Arunachal Pradesh

Team NEILAC conducted awareness sessions on language revitalization in five villages of Thrizino Circle, West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh. The awareness sessions included a children’s march across the villages to spread awareness messages, an oath-taking ceremony where participants pledged to protect and preserve the Aka (Hrusso) language and culture, a signature drive to reinforce this commitment, and the distribution of ‘Aka Na Shipyow’ and Alphabet Charts donated by the Aka Language Academy.

NEILAC organized a month-long community mobilization and door-to-door campaigns among the Aka (Hrusso) community of West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh in collaboration with Aka Language Academy. As part of the intervention, team NEILAC reached out to 16 Villages comprising about 400 families with posters and alphabet charts promoting language and ecological awareness.

NEILAC conducted a Language Vitality Survey using UNESCO’s Language Vitality Assessment tool (2003) to assess the degree of language loss within the Aka (Koro) and Hrusso (Aka) communities. While the survey results on Aka (Hrusso) indicated a significant revival rate, the data on Aka (Koro) shows critical endangerment, with nearly 90% loss of intergenerational transmission.

Dr Vijay D’souza SJ, director of NEILAC was honoured by Aka Shotuko-Kunu, the Apex Body of Aka (Hrusso)Tribe for his unparalleled service and contribution to the Aka (Hrusso) Society in developing the orthography and rendering it a historic achievement to make Aka (Hrusso) a written language. Vijay was felicitated by Shri Pema Kandhu, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh at Nyethrii-Dow Festival.

As part of the 4th Foundation Day celebrations, NEILAC organized a lecture on ‘Language and Social Justice’ by Dr Walter Fernandes SJ on 30th September 2023. The talk highlighted various aspects of language oppression in North East India as part of a vicious circle of socio-cultural and economic oppression among the indigenous communities of the region.

NEILAC organized a 3-day long retreat for its staff at the Arrupe Retreat House, Mawshoroh, Meghalaya. The retreat had various capacity-building sessions for the staff including moments of joint reflections and fun activities.

NEILAC organized a certificate course on Articulatory Phonetics and Introduction to Language Learning Methodology. The course was conducted from 15 July 2023 to 31 August 2023. Dr Vijay D’Souza SJ and Dr Prarthana Acharyya were the course instructors.

“Huda-Puda Shipyow/ Gõ-si Sespung: Workshop on Ecological Storytelling and Poetry in Indigenous Languages” for Aka (Hrusso) and Aka (Koro) community members were conducted concurrently at the NEILAC from July 24th to July 29th, 2023. The intensive six-day workshops resulted in the creation of five draft booklets, including two collections of poems, two collections of traditional mythologies, and one textbook.