India Education
India to conduct survey on its languages
Mar 13, 2007 - 3:59:47 PM

New Delhi, March 13 - Home to 216 mother tongues, India Tuesday proposed to conduct a linguistic survey to provide a systematic and comprehensive account of the status of the country's language diversity.

'There is a proposal to conduct a linguistic survey of the country, the report of which will be available after 10 years of its commissioning,' Minister of State for Human Resource Development - D. Purandeswari said.

Purandeswari told the Lok Sabha that advances in technology will be used to document, prepare databases, distinguish spoken and written languages and produce a wide range of linguistic materials in both print and electronic form.

According to the 1991 census, researchers found 10,400 raw returns of mother tongues and they were rationalised into 1,576 mother tongues. They were further rationalised into 216 mother tongues, each of which is spoken by at least 10,000 people and grouped under 114 languages.

The 216 mother tongues together are spoken by nearly 99 percent of the population and belong to four language families namely Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman.

As per the 1961 Census, there were 1,652 mother tongues, genetically belonging to five different language families. Apart from them 527 mother tongues were considered unclassified at that time.

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