06.04.2012 - Culture Sector

The Khasi language is no longer in danger

UNESCO has withdrawn Khasi from its Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Khasi is spoken in the region of the Khasi and Jaintia hills in Meghalaya state, India. Also known as Khasia, Khassee, Cossyah or Kyi, this language of the Mon-Khmer linguistic branch is spoken by some 900,000 people.

The status of this language was reassessed by the editorial board of the Atlas, which concluded that Khasi may be classified as “safe” on UNESCO’s scale of language vitality. Recognized as “associate official language” in the state of Meghalaya since 2005, Khasi is widely used in several domains such as primary and secondary education, radio, television and religion. Although some dialects of Khasi are dying as they make way for the standardized variant, the editorial board is pleased to acknowledge that today the future of this language seems to be assured.

Available in its online version since 2009, the Interactive Atlas is regularly updated based on feedback from linguists and speakers of endangered languages.  To date, the Atlas lists 2473 languages in danger in the world, classified in five degrees of vitality: « vulnerable », « definitely endangered », « severely endangered », « critically endangered » and « extinct ».  

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