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Raji Orthography Development


Raji is a little known tribal community whose descendants are the prehistoric Kiratas. They live in dense forests far away from the surrounding Kumauni villages of Pithoragarh district, in the state of Uttarakhand, India. In 2001 census their population was reported to be 680 in all the nine villages. Sir George Grierson, in his book ‘Linguistic Survey of India’ had named this language as ‘janggali which has only spoken form.' Following the framework established by Wurm and the stages of threatenedness discussed in Fishman’s GIDS, Raji can be assessed as ‘potentially endangered andat stage 6 (language) which means the language is at risk.’ While chalking out a revitalization programme for this oral language the author realized the need of orthography development for this language. It is an established fact that Orthography gives stability to a language and not only conserves it but also helps in its standardization. So after preparing a small grammar book, with the help of collected phonologicaland grammatical material of Raji the next important task before the researcher was to develop an orthography system. The present paper focuses on the early stages of orthography development for this previously undocumented indigenous language.

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