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A few words from the Head

I am extremely delighted to welcome all of you to Central Department of Linguistics (CDL), Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Nepal. This department, which was set up as a teaching cum research department under the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science in May 1996, is mainly dedicated to producing high- level and high-quality manpower for teaching linguistics and conducting research in the languages of Nepal.

According to Census of Nepal, 2011, more than 123 languages are spoken as mother tongues by more than 125 caste/ethnic groups in a small country, Nepal.  Only 44% languages of Nepal are safe. Unless effective efforts are made immediately on behalf of both speech communities and the government (both at local and central levels), endangered and seriously endangered languages of the nation will die up in a few years.  Language death, though common phenomenon, is not only the death of a particular form of speech. Indeed, it is an irreparable loss of the cultural values and life-crucial knowledge embodied in the form of the speech. To create effective awareness about the importance of mother tongue-based multilingual education for the proper cognitive  development in the children and  to conduct ethnolinguistic documentation of  the endangered languages, the nation requires hundreds of high-quality manpower, well-experienced with geo-socio-linguistic situation of Nepal. However, at present, the nation lacks enough trained manpower even for compiling dictionaries, writing grammars and textbooks and developing/adapting orthographies in the unstudied endangered languages of Nepal.

Realizing the situation of the languages of Nepal, this department has focused on teaching both theoretical and practical aspects of different disciplines of modern linguistics required for  conducting research in different aspects of the languages of Nepal. This department has already produced more than 130 graduates (Master degree) and 15  PhDs ( in collaboration  with the Dean’s office of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences). This number is, indeed, insufficient even for the minimum linguistic activities required for the preservation, promotion and development of the languages of Nepal.

Thus, the department  would like to draw the kind  attention of  all, especially, the indigenous communities, taking interest in realizing the dynamic importance of the mother tongue and having quality and dedicated manpower trained  at the department for the preservation of their endangered languages.

This department, since its inception, has been engaged in many research activities. Some noteworthy research projects, which this department successfully completed, include Baram  Ethnolinguistic Documentation, Puma and Chhintang Documentation and Bhasa Sanchar Pariyojana. Apart from these projects, the department has successfully conducted a number of language documentation and dictionary projects in collaboration of different institutions of the nation.
At present, except estimated enumerations of the languages in different censuses, Nepal is deprived of the records of any reliable sociolinguistic picture of the languages spoken in the country. This is indeed a miserable situation.

This department, with the aegis of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Government of Nepal, conducted  the linguistic surveys of the languages for about nine years. During this period,  this survey completed the sociolinguistic surveys of more than 96 languages and produced, with the hard work of  the researchers, teachers and head of the clusters, the full reports of the sociolinguistic surveys of  those languages (See Reports in this website). This project was recently concluded.  This department comprises the faculties (both regular and guests)  from different disciplines of linguistics, viz., Advanced phonetics, Generative grammars, Functional-typological grammar,  Computational linguistics, Linguistic typology, Corpus linguistics, Language documentation,  Tibeto-Burman linguistics and others. The department, which has already been headed by Prof. Dr. Churamani Bandhu, Prof. Dr. Tej Ratna Kansakar and Prof. Dr. Yogendra P. Yadava, has organized international conference like Himalayan Languages Symposium thrice . The 21st Himalayan Languages Symposium was hosted by CDL  with LSN in November, 2015 in Kathmandu.

At present, the department  is running semester-based MA in Linguistics. Let's join hands with the department for the preservation, promotion and development of the languages!

Looking forward to your kind cooperation and constructive suggestions.

Prof. Dr. Dan Raj Regmi

Head, CDL, TU

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