Mother Tongue Survey of India: Government completes survey of 576 languages in India

The Mother Tongue Survey of India is a project that surveys the mother tongues, which are returned consistently across two and more census decades later. The survey also documents the linguistic features of the selected languages.

Mother Tongue Survey of India
Mother Tongue Survey of India

Mother Tongue Survey of India: The Union Home Ministry has successfully completed a Mother Tongue Survey of India with field videography of 576 languages and dialects across India. As per the annual report of the Home Ministry for 2021-22, it has been planned to set up a web archive at the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to preserve and analyze the original flavor of each indigenous mother tongue. The Ministry of Home Affairs also informed that the Linguistic Survey of India is a regular research activity in the country since the 6th Five Year Plan.

Mother Tongue Survey of India: Key Points

1. According to the Home Ministry, the Linguistic Survey of India is a regular research activity in India since the 6th Five Year Plan.

2. In continuation with the earlier publications under this project, the volume on LSI Jharkhand is finalized while in Himachal Pradesh is nearing completion.

3. The fieldwork of the Linguistic Survey of India Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh is going on.

4. In the census, which has been kept on hold because of the COVID pandemic, several new initiatives have been taken for facilitating the smooth conduct of the mega exercise, including the use of advanced geospatial technology.

5. Some of these initiatives include the purchase of versions and re-modules of software for completing the Census mapping activities in a quick and efficient manner.

6. The jurisdictional changes that occurred after Census 2011 till December 31, 2019, have been updated in the geo-referenced database.

7. More than 6 lakh maps (district, sub-district, village level) have been prepared and are being uploaded in the in-house portal for census functionaries.

What is the Mother Tongue Survey of India (MTSI)?

The Mother Tongue Survey of India is a project that surveys the mother tongues, which are returned consistently across two and more census decades later. The survey also documents the linguistic features of the selected languages.

According to the report by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the National Film Development Corporation will be documenting and preserving the linguistic data of the surveyed mother tongues in an audio-video file.

The vide-graphed speech data of the mother tongues will also be uploaded on the NIC survey for archiving purposes.

How many mother tongues are in India?

According to the analysis of 2011 linguistic census data in 2018, more than 19,500 dialects or languages are spoken in India as mother tongues.

The category ‘Mother tongue’ is a designation provided by the respondent, however, it does not need to be identical to the actual linguistic pattern.

As per the 2011 Linguistic census, Hindi is the most widely spoken mother tongue in India with 52.8 crore people, or 43.6 percent of the population declaring it as the Mother Tongue. The next highest, after Hindi, is Bengali. It is the mother tongue of 9.7 crore individuals and accounts for 8 percent of the population of the country.

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