Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 27, 2015 | 3.50 pm IST India is one of the top ten most linguistically diverse countries in the world, according to a map created by Translate Media.  Using data from Wikipedia on the number of languages listed as being in use in a country, the map rates countries irrespective of the vitality of these languages. It also notes that the distinctions between dialects and languages is often “political”. The diversity index is calculated based on the population of each language as a proportion of the total population. India has a score of .930, and is number 9 among the 10 countries. The top three spots are held by three small island countries in Oceania, and the rest by African countries.  According to the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, the country has over 780 living languages spoken between over 1.2 billion people. However, the official count – 122 – is simply not reflective of the linguistic diversity of the sub-continent. Linguist Ganesh Devy, who supervised the project said that this discrepancy was because the government did not count languages which have less than 10,000 speakers.  Conducted by the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre over a period of four years, it is possibly the most comprehensive linguistic survey ever conducted of India’s linguistic heritage. The information collected will be published in a 50-volume series that will comprise around 35,000 pages.  Read: Hindi prominence order: Why not an inclusive policy for our disappearing languages? The country with the highest linguistic diversity is Papua New Guinea, with a population of around seven million but 848 languages according to the Wikipedia entry. The country, which shares an island with Indonesia, was colonized by Germany, and later the British, and finally Australia, from which it gained independence in September 1975. Vanuatu, is further to the east, off the eastern coast of Australia. The country was colonized at various points of time by Spain, and later by France and Britain, from which it obtained independence as late as 1980. The country has three official languages and 113 indegenous languages each of which, is spoken by around 2,000 people on average. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.