10825Fwd: [karmayog] India lost 220 languages in last 50 years, survey finds
- Jan 7, 2014
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From: Pearl - Karmayog
Source: The Times of India
India lost 220 languages in last 50 years, survey finds
(India had 1,100 languages…)
MUMBAI: India has lost around 20% of its languages in the past five decades, a survey by the Vadodara-based Bhasha Research and Publication Centre has revealed.
The country had 1,100 languages in 1961, but nearly 220 of them have disappeared, said Ganesh Devy, writer and lead co-ordinator of the survey called the People's Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI). The survey was carried out over two years from 2011.
"We have found 780 languages and must have missed about 100 or so. That makes it close to 880 languages. The rest have disappeared. It's a sad loss," said Devy.
Most of the lost languages belonged to nomadic communities scattered across the country. "Were they alive, they would have been spoken by 3% to 4% of Indians, that is around five crore people," Devy said.
The main reasons for the disappearance of these languages are a lack of recognition, displacement of communities, the absence of a livelihood option for speakers and stigma against what are considered 'under-developed' mother tongues, he said. "The absence of a policy on language conservation completed the process," he added.
The census of 1961 had recorded 1,652 languages in all, but taking into account the fact that variants of many languages had found a place in this list, the number was later brought down to 1,100.
In 1971, the census had listed only 108 languages due to the central government's decision to document only those which had more than 10,000 speakers. All other languages were included in the 'others' section. The practice continues and many languages remain forgotten. The PLSI, however, hasn't gone by the government norm; it listed all languages.
A Marathi volume on languages in Maharashtra, called 'Maharashtratil Bhasha', put together by the institute, will be released in Pune on August 17. There are 49 more such volumes as part of the survey, which will be released in New Delhi on September 5.