BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: While climate change has affected topography and ecosystem especially in the mountainous regions, the languages and culture haven’t been spared either by the devastating effects of the phenomenon.
A study conducted by Zafar Shakir of Karakoram International University [KIU] reveals the Shina language is one of the casualties of the climate change as words from other languages have encroached upon the Shina which is already categorized among the ‘threatened languages.’
“The displacements and migrations tend to affect language and culture,” writes Shakir in his study which was conducted in September covering 20 individuals displaced by floods.
Shaikr is a lecturer at the Department of Modern Languages at KIU Gilgit and his study won applaud from audience during an international conference held last month at KIU.
“In G-B, this has also happened with Shina,” he said.
In his study, Shakir selected 20 Shina speaking men and women displaced over the year by the floods. “Of those I interviewed, five were farmers and same number was service men and women, students and businessmen.”
In the study period that lasted nearly two hours, the total words uttered by the target group were 3223. And the use of non-Shina words was around 33 percent, said the lecturer who is also an activist for preservation of Shina language in G-B.
Shakir says there is direct and indirect impact of Climate Change on material culture which includes clothing, agriculture and housing.
Similarly there is direct and indirect impact of Climate Change on Non-Material Culture which includes Language, he added.
The KIU faculty member said the impact of climate change on the target group forced them to code switching and mixing, inter-sentential and intra-sentential code switching, blending and borrowing of words from other languages.
He says climate change has become an additional threat indirectly influencing the endangered languages and material cultures with displacements and migration and land loss due to natural disasters.