Toto Language :
- Spoken by the Toto tribal people, mostly in areas of West Bengal that border Bhutan, Toto is a Sino-Tibetan language.
Speaking it is a minority language, with only about 1,600 people proficient.
- Toto is mostly a spoken language, and although though Dhaniram Toto created a script in 2015, many Toto people still write in Bengali or use the Bengali language when communicating in writing.
- They live in Totopara, West Bengal, close to the Bhutan border. In the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, the language is also spoken in various locations near the border between India and Bhutan.
- Endangered Status: With an estimated 1,000 speakers or less, Toto is classified by UNESCO as a critically endangered language. Many Toto families continue to speak the language at home in spite of its endangered status. Even if kids use Bengali in school, it is frequently the first language they learn at home.
- Language Preservation Initiatives: Scholars and Toto community members are aware that the language is endangered. The growing impact of non-English languages, especially Bengali and Nepali, threatens Toto. A number of initiatives are being taken to record and save the language, including as the creation of the first Toto grammatical sketch by the Himalayan Languages Project.
- Anthropological Research: An investigation of the language of the Toto tribe has been carried out by the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI). Even more critically endangered is the language, despite the tribe’s tiny size. This emphasizes how important it is to preserve and revive the Toto language.
- Bhakta Toto, a poet and bank employee, and the University of Calcutta have taken the initiative to produce a trilingual dictionary known as “Toto Shabda Sangraha.”
The goal of this dictionary is to compile the Toto language’s vocabulary and translate it into Bengali and English.
The Preservation Mission
- As a language that has historically been spoken orally, the Toto dictionary represents a major advancement in language preservation.
- The intention is to guarantee its longevity and accessibility to a larger audience by printing its lexicon and making it available in several languages.
- The dictionary will display Toto terms in the Bengali alphabet, making it more accessible to the community, as the Toto script is still in its infancy and the Toto community is more accustomed to the latter.
1919 Calcutta Comparatists
- This campaign was organized in large part by Mrinmoy Pramanick, chairman of Calcutta Comparatists 1919 and assistant professor at the University of Calcutta.
- The trust wants to keep minority languages alive and advance them in scholarly settings.
- The charity intends to publish further works in order to further promote Toto culture and language, including Dhaniram Toto’s Bengali novel “Uttal Torsa.”