Bengkulu (ANTARA) - The languages of Rejang and Enggano that are native to Bengkulu Province in the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been recently listed as endangered, Bengkulu Language Office Head Yanti Riswara has informed.

"According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology's report, there are 11 endangered languages nationwide. Two of them are native to Bengkulu. They are Rejang and Enggano languages," she said here Thursday.

A recent language-mapping that the Bengkulu Language Office conducted identified three languages as native to Bengkulu -- Rejang, Bengkulu Malay, and Enggano, she disclosed.

"From the three regional languages in Bengkulu, Rejang and Enggano languages can be considered endangered, while Bengkulu Malay is relatively safe as its speakers in Serawai, Pesemah, and Mukomuko regions are abundant," she noted.

Lifestyle changes among the natives are behind the language shift and have served as a catalyst in the decline of the two languages, she noted.

"To prevent the language extinction, particularly our native languages in Bengkulu, the society needs to advocate and popularize the language and encourage members of our young generation to speak their native tongues in their daily activities," Riswara said.

Three steps can be taken to check the regression of languages. They include promoting teaching native languages in schools and encouraging speaking of native languages at home and in public, she elaborated.

The government must also take action to protect languages by holding language promotion events and compiling native language dictionaries, she said.

She said she hoped the three steps would help protect the two native languages, which are treasured by Bengkulu residents, from extinction.

Besides Rejang and Enggano, there are more endangered languages originating from the eastern part of Indonesia, particularly from Papua, West Papua, Maluku, and North Maluku Provinces, she added.

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Translator: Helti Marini S, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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