Jakarta - The Indonesian National Language Center has since the 1970s researched and documented a total of 746 different languages across Indonesia, an official with the language department said.
The number represents 12 percent of the number of languages existing in the world, Antara news agency on Friday quoted Dendy Sugono, head of the center at the National Education Ministry, as saying.
"The data on Indonesia`s languages is increasing. When the center began its research in the 1970s, it found 250 languages across the country. After the next research effort, the number had risen to 400, and now we know there are 746 languages spoken by many tribes in different regions," Sugono said.
He said the center would continue its efforts to find, research and document existing languages in the country and was expecting to finish its work in the next five years.
He said one of the factors which was slowing down the research was Indonesia`s geographical conditions.
"Some of our staff must climb mountains, cross rivers, and then walk to reach target areas. Papua, Maluku, and East Nusa Tenggara are among the regions where researchers face the toughest challenges," he said.
With a population of 240 million, Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world after China, India and the United States. Editor: An
Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com (October 24, 2008)