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Arunachal teacher developed a script on dying Wancho dialect: The language is now in the textbook of government schools

Dibya Kamal Bordoloi

Dibya Kamal BordoloiSep 15, 2021, 12:32 PM IST

Arunachal teacher developed a script on dying Wancho dialect: The language is now in the textbook of government schools



Guwahati: When 89 languages from the North-East are on the verge of extinction, with 34 belonging to Arunachal Pradesh alone, a 38 years old teacher Banwang Losu from the hill state, developed an independent Wancho dialect.

The school teacher who has done his post-graduation in linguistics at Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute in Pune, after a decade-long struggle, finally developed the Wancho script, which has been now enlisted in the US-based Unicode Consortium for online use, which means it can be used on the internet across the world.

Wancho, one of the tribes in Arunachal Pradesh with over a lakh speakers in the state, didn't have a script until Losu published his first Wancho language book in 2013. Wancho is a Tibetan-Burma community mainly residing in Longdeng, Tirap districts and bordering Assam, Nagaland and Myanmar.

On his unique achievement, Losu said, "We are responsible to preserve our culture and languages ourselves or it will disappear from this world. There is no superior or inferior language; every language is equally important," 

Losu developed the idea to develop a script in his mother tongue while he was a linguistic student in college in mid-2000.  

Losu faced many complications during the development of the new dialect. He said, "I found out that it was not possible to translate the language as it did not capture all of its sounds. So I started researching the phonetics of the language," 

In 2013, a book titled 'Wancho script' was also published carrying the basic application of letters into words and sentences based on the research of Losu.

It is now being used as a textbook in around 20 government-run schools to teach the language. The big achievement of Losu is that the Wancho script has now 44 letters: 15 vowels and 29 consonants, which was on the verge of being extinct before the endeavour of the teacher from Arunachal Pradesh.

Recently, the Arunachal Pradesh government launched eight textbooks of local dialects in Itanagar on the occasion of Teachers' Day, which will be taught in the government schools.










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