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Prevent loss of ethnic languages, says Yap
Published on: Friday, August 12, 2016

Tawau: Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap said the extinction of ethnic languages ​​or local dialects would be very detrimental not only to the nation but also the future generations who will inherit the country's leadership.

"It is a loss if our children and grandchildren cannot master their native language ... so it is our responsibility to prevent this from happening," she said.

In this regard, she said the government welcomes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) programme and the choice of ethnic Tidung in Tawau for their study this time.

She said this at the closing of the Unesco Programme 2016: Preserving District and Ethnic Languages here Thursday.

The programme was held on Aug 8-10 at Kg Kuala Merotai for documenting the Tidung language with a focus on three events, namely, handicrafts, traditional food-making and carpentry.

Yap felt such programmes provide an opportunity for the young people to recognise and deepen regional ethnic languages ​inherited from generation to generation, in line with the objectives of the programme to create awareness and a sense of responsibility to preserve their native language.

"Strategies and actions towards documenting local languages ​​ are the best methods to sustain heritage, culture and language," she said.

Meanwhile the Ministry's International Relations Section Secretary Yunus Charlie Charlington said the Tidung ethnic group was selected as they were an ethnic minority in the district.

According to him, the purpose of documenting this language ​​ through Unesco was to create awareness among the people on the existence of the Tidung.

Earlier Tawau Tidung Community Association President Pageran Raden Pangeran Hassan Kakung said the association's worry was over the extinction of the Tidung language ​ as many can't even speak the language.

"This (extinction) is a threat to us and we intend to create a dictionary as a heritage documentation to ensure the language won't go extinct ... hence the presence of Unesco and Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka to document the ethnic Tidung," he said.

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