Yakutia to open a center to study, preserve and develop native languages
© RIA Novosti. Vitaliy Belousov

Yakutia to open a center to study, preserve and develop native languages

A regional center for the study, preservation and development of native languages will be established at the Academy of Sciences in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

The center is being created under instructions from the head of the republic, Aisen Nikolayev. The goal will include the scientific study and research of the current language situation and the elaboration of scientifically justified solutions for preserving and developing native languages.

"Preparations are underway. We plan to create an administration in the format of a coordination center, which will include representatives of existing scientific, education and administrative institutions whose competencies include the implementation of public policy to preserve and develop native languages," said Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Mestnikov at the expanded council on language development.

Aysen Nikolayev encouraged attendees at the expanded council meeting to take part in organizing the work of the center. In 2023, they plan to develop methods for teaching children in schools.

"I consider it very important to focus this work on practice, on implementing the developments directly into the education system. Without this objective there is a risk of going into pure theory, which will not provide the desired effect," said the head of the republic.

According to the law On Languages in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the republic has recognized two official languages as state languages: Russian and Sakha. There are also five other official languages: Even, Evenki, Yukaghir, Dolgan, and Chukchi.

Also, 15 volumes of the Big Explanatory Dictionary of the Yakut Language will be published online in a new format by the end of the year.

"The most important part of preserving and developing the Sakha language as a state language was the publication of the 15-volume Big Explanatory Dictionary of the Yakut Language, which has become a true treasure of the Yakut people’s language. The online version will be completed in December on instructions from the head of the republic. It will be the basis for creating various digital platforms: applications, portals, and voice assistants," Mestnikov said.

Head of Yakutia Aysen Nikolayev set the goal of digitizing the dictionary and developing an electronic format at the first meeting of the Council for Language Development in 2019. The PDF version was digitized the same year by the Institute of Humanitarian Research and Problems of the Indigenous Peoples of the North under the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Library of Yakutia. They subsequently began developing an even more comprehensive version – the digital volumes. The presentation of the dictionary is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.