As a native member of the very small Milang tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, North East India, Yankee Modi is deeply aware of the endangerment of the language and culture of the region. Yankee grew up in the Pasighat area of Arunachal Pradesh, and she is consequently not a fluent speaker of Milang. Instead she grew up speaking Pasi, a variety of the Adi language spoken in the Pasighat area. Therefore, Yankee is unable to pass much of the Milang language and knowledge on to her children, who are most likely to end up speaking Adi, Hindi and English. The more the lives of Milang people begin to resemble her own life, the smaller the chance that their language of only 2,000 speakers will outlive the 21st century. Yankee chose to forego a career in government service and pursue a career as a linguist in order to document and preserve her heritage, language and culture so that Milang will not be lost forever. Yankee is writing a detailed descriptive grammar of Milang as well as a bilingual dictionary in Milang and English.
Post, Mark William, and Yankee Modi. 2011. ‘Language contact and the genetic position of Milang in Tibeto-Burman’, Anthropological Linguistics, 53 (3): 215-258
Modi, Yankee. 2006. ‘The complexity and emergence of Hindi as a lingua franca in Arunachal Pradesh’, Vital Voices: Endangered Languages and Multilingualism: Proceedings of the Foundation for Endangered languages, 10.