North Eastern Institute of Language and Culture


NEILAC recently organized a three-day teachers’ training workshop titled ‘BiLin: Empowering Educators in Bilingual Pedagogy’ from May 3rd to May 5th, 2024. The workshop featured sessions on ‘Communication through Storytelling,’ ‘Learning through Discovery: Developing a Scientific Temper,’ and ‘Science and Language Learning,’ aimed at enhancing bilingual education techniques. Distinguished experts, Mr Bappu Deshmukh and Mrs Nabanita Deshmukh served as key resource persons, offering invaluable guidance and expertise throughout the workshop. In addition to the informative sessions, the program incorporated various engaging activities, including fun games and practical exercises to foster experiential learning and enable teachers to implement participatory teaching methods in their respective schools effectively.

On January 14, 2024, a significant milestone was achieved with the release of the inaugural Aka (Koro) Language Textbook. The textbook was released by Er. Tage Taki, esteemed Minister of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Diary Development, and Fishery for the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Dr Vijay D’Souza, accompanied by community leaders including Jeevan Yame, Sangkoli Chijang, Mama Natung, Babung Chijang, Tadak Degio, and Sita Chijang, proudly unveiled the textbook to the public. The event also showcased the debut of the first-ever children’s songbook in Aka (Koro) Language by Sita Chijang, Language consultant for Aka (Koro) at NEILAC. Rooted in local ecological knowledge and culture, both publications symbolize a significant stride towards establishing a child-friendly educational environment grounded in traditional values.

Team NEILAC organized awareness sessions on language revitalization in five villages of Thrizino Circle, West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh. Dr. Vijay D’Souza emphasized the significance of preserving the native language during the sessions. The event commenced with a spirited children’s march aimed at spreading awareness messages throughout the villages. This was followed by an oath-taking ceremony where participants solemnly pledged to safeguard the Aka (Hrusso) language and culture. To reinforce this commitment, a signature drive was conducted. Additionally, the Aka Language Academy generously donated ‘Aka Na Shipyow’ materials and Alphabet Charts, which were distributed among the attendees. These efforts aimed to ignite a collective resolve towards preserving the linguistic heritage and cultural identity of the community.

NEILAC, in partnership with the Aka Language Academy, conducted a month-long community mobilization in West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh, targeting the Aka (Hrusso) community. Engaging with Sixteen villages and approximately Four Hundred families, the team visited every household and distributed posters and alphabet charts to promote language and ecological awareness. By fostering a deeper understanding of language preservation and environmental consciousness, the effort aimed to instill pride and responsibility within the Aka community. Through grassroots outreach and educational materials, NEILAC and the Aka Language Academy collaborated to cultivate sustainable appreciation and stewardship of the Hrusso language, culture, and the ecological knowledge and best practices of the community.

NEILAC conducted a Language Vitality Survey following UNESCO’s (2003) assessment tool to assess the degree of language loss within the Aka (Koro) and Hrusso (Aka) communities. The primary objective of this study was to understand the factors leading to language shift and the potential for language abandonment among the target 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. Understanding the underlying causes of the present language health is imperative for developing targeted interventions to support its survival. This research endeavor is expected to yield valuable insights that would inform and guide language conservation efforts.

Dr Vijay D’Souza, Director of NEILAC, was honoured by Aka Shotuko-Kunu, the apex body of the Aka (Hrusso) tribe, for his unparalleled service and contribution to Aka (Hrusso) society through the development of orthography and literature, thus contributing to the historic feat of making Aka (Hrusso) a written language. Dr. Vijay was felicitated by Shri Kumsi Sidisow, Hon’ble MLA of the 6th Thrizino-Buragaon constituency of Arunachal Pradesh, on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the Nyethrii-Dow Festival. For over two decades, appreciating Dr. D’Souza’s efforts, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Pema Khandu, commended his commitment to preserving and promoting the Aka (Hrusso) language and culture. Since 2017, at the request of the Aka (Hrusso) people, he has also been leading the Hrusso Literature Team.

As part of its 4th Foundation Day celebrations, NEILAC hosted a lecture titled ‘Language and Social Justice’ on September 30, 2023. The distinguished speaker, Dr. Walter Fernandes SJ, delved into the intricate dynamics of language oppression prevalent in North East India. Emphasizing its role within the broader context of sociocultural and economic oppression, Dr Fernandes shed light on the profound impact of language policies on the lives of indigenous communities in the region and the challenges faced by them. The lecture provided a comprehensive examination of how language barriers perpetuate inequality and marginalization, exacerbating existing social disparities. Dr. Fernandes articulated the significance of linguistic rights in fostering inclusive development and advocating for social justice.

NEILAC, a prominent organization dedicated to community empowerment, recently concluded a transformative 3-day retreat for its dedicated staff members. Held at the serene Arrupe Retreat House in Mawshoroh, Meghalaya, the retreat served as a platform for both professional development and rejuvenation. During the retreat, NEILAC facilitated an array of capacity-building sessions tailored to enhance the skills and knowledge of its staff. These sessions were complemented by moments of collective reflection on the organization’s vision and mission, fostering a deeper understanding and alignment among team members towards their common goals. From team-building exercises to recreational outings, the retreat provided ample opportunities for relaxation and connection outside the usual work setting.

NEILAC recently hosted a certificate course focused on Articulatory Phonetics and Introduction to Language Learning Methodology. Running from July 15th to August 31st, 2023, the course offered a comprehensive exploration of these key linguistic topics. Dr. Vijay D’Souza SJ and Dr. Prarthana Acharyya expertly led the sessions as course instructors. The program aimed to equip participants with a solid foundation in articulatory phonetics, enhancing their understanding of speech sounds and pronunciation. Additionally, it provided insights into language learning methodologies, offering valuable strategies for effective language acquisition and teaching. Participants benefited from the expertise of the instructors and engaged in interactive sessions designed to deepen their knowledge and skills in learning new languages.