In News: Recently, The New York Times reported that the “near-extinct” Nepalese language Seke has just 700 speakers around the world. Of these, 100 are in New York, and roughly half of these 100 stay in one building in the city. 

About Nepal’s Seke Language:

  • According to the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA), Seke is one of the over 100 indigenous languages of Nepal and is mainly spoken in the five villages of Chuksang, Chaile, Gyakar, Tangbe and Tetang in the Upper Mustang district.


Endangered Language Alliance (ELA):

Founded in 2010, the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA) is a non-profit based dedicated to supporting linguistic diversity and endangered languages in New York City and beyond. 

ELA’s unique network of researchers, activists, and students documents the speech, stories, and songs of immigrant, refugee, and diaspora communities, bringing it to a wider audience.

  • In recent years, Seke has been retreating in the face of Nepali, which is Nepal’s official language and is considered to be crucial for getting educational and employment opportunities outside villages.

Considering this, Seke may be considered to be a definitely endangered language.

As per the Endangered Languages Project (ELP), there are roughly 201 endangered languages in India and about 70 in Nepal. Further to signify their importance, the UN declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.


Endangered Languages Project (ELP)

  • It is a worldwide collaboration between indigenous language organizations, linguists, institutions of higher education, and key industry partners to strengthen endangered languages. 
  • The foundation of the project is a website, which was launched in June 2012.
  • The goals of the ELP are to foster exchange of information related to at-risk languages and accelerate endangered language research and documentation, to support communities engaged in protecting or revitalizing their languages etc..