Jakarta. The Ministry of Education and Culture's Head of Language Development Agency, Dadang Sunendar, has said that 139 ethnic languages in Indonesia are at risk of falling out of use.
The agency has identified 617 languages, 139 of which are endangered languages and 15 are already extinct.
"That is from language agency's data. The data may be different overseas," Dadang said in Bandung, West Java, as reported by Antara on Tuesday (02/08).
He added that the endangered languages have been less often used due to the negative attitudes of their speakers towards their native tongues.
Dadang believes that government's efforts to protect Indonesia's heritage must continue, especially under the 2009 Law on the National Flag, Language, Emblem and Anthem.
"The ministry of education and culture has the responsibility to conserve and protect the national heritage," he added as he welcomed the First Native Languages Congress organized by the West Java provincial government, in partnership with Rancage Cultural Foundation and the ministry's Language Development Agency.
"For me, this [congress] gives hope for us to make history, especially to make the younger generations able to converse in their native languages," Dadang stated.