A bill to protect Dhivehi, the Maldivian language, has been presented to parliament by People’s Alliance (PA) MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal Abubakuru.
Jamaal said that the Dhivehi language was “why Maldivians remain as Maldivians” and the source of the country’s success.
”Dhivehi is one of the most valuable national relics that our forefathers have delivered to us,” Jamaal said. ”Without doubt it is our responsibility to deliver it to the next generation safely, like our forefathers did.”
Jamaal said if people were careless with their mother-tongue, there was a potential for words to be lost.
”I believe that allowing the Maldivian language to dissolve is like dissolving our nationality,” he said.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed thanked MP Jamaal for presenting the bill, but said he did not believe a bill was the only solution.
Nasheed said that linguistic experts of had noted that languages form, change and decease naturally.
”A perfect research paper on this was produced by Dr Noam Chomsky,” he said. “All these things are mentioned very clearly in his book, ‘Language Death’. It mentions three stages a language goes through before it dissolves.”
Nasheed said that research conducted by UNESCO showed that there were 6800 languages used in the world.
”Our language is included in a list of languages in the report that are at risk of disappearing in 20 years.”
Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader and MP Ali Waheed said that he supported the bill.
”It was not for political gain that we criticised the disbanding of the National Centre for Arts and Culture,” Waheed said. ”We were just expressing concern.”
Waheed said that although the Maldives was just a small dot compared to many much larger countries, “we should be proud to have our own language.”