A seminar in Linguistics and Language Planning in India was organised by the Centre of Advanced Study in Linguistics at the Deccan College Post-graduate & Research Institute, Poona, from 3rd April to 8th April, 1967. The subject of the Seminar was rather wide and scholars from diverse disciplines viz. Linguistics, Sociology, Anthropology, History and Archaeology, working at the Deccan College, participated in the Seminar. I am grateful to the participants for their enthusiastic response and ready co-operation in this venture.
A number of issues were discussed in the Seminar with special reference to Indian situation, e.g. educational and sociological aspects of language, language question in historical perspective, language standardisation, technical terminology, translation, laboratories for teaching languages. I hope the proceeding of the Seminar will throw some light on the complex problem of language in developing nations and will stimulate further discussions on the subject.
Papers presented at the Seminar are given in full and discussions held are given in abridged form after each paper. I thank Dr. Parso Gidwani, Research Fellow in Sindhi Linguistics, for his generous help in recording the discussion.
I have great pleasure in welcoming you all on behalf of the Deccan College to the Seminar on Linguistics and Language Planning in India. At a Seminar like this, where most to the participants are connected with the Deccan College, I need not take much of your time in formalities. I am particularly glad that many of our colleagues from the Linguistics, Archaeology and Sociology-Anthropology faculties, though quite busy with the Summer Courses and other year-closing activities, have responded enthusiastically to our request for participation in this Seminar.
In India the language question seems to be very much clouded with passions and prejudices and with the passing of two decades since our Independence, it has assumed serious proportions. Disregard of many elementary facts of the role of languages in social and individual life has led to many political and administrative errors. Linguistics scholars in India, hitherto, have been conspicuously silent about the language policy of the country.
Linguists in the country have, so far, been engaged primarily in the studies concerning historical development and structural analysis of various written and unwritten languages. In recent years attention of some linguists has been diverted towards the aspects of languages teaching and preparing technical terminologies of various Indian languages. But very little attention has yet been paid to the functional aspect or social usages of various languages of the country. The problem language as a medium for the transmission of feelings and as a medium of national development has not yet been investigated objectively by experts in these fields.
Language plays an important role in the social, economic an educational development of nation. Some linguists deny that language planning is at all possible like planning in the technological fields. They say ‘it is naive to believe that a language can be propagated by reasonable means, by persuasion, or by social laws which are not related to the intentions of individuals’. One of our colleagues jocularly remarked that now in such seminars linguists are also going to discuss politics. But, on the other side, linguists cannot lock themselves up in detatched “ivory towers”. They must participate in indicating right paths to be followed for the immense transformation taking place in the country since independence. History has recorded some earlier attempts at conscious language engineering (in Narway, Israel and in other places) which were successful when they did not clash with spontaneous social trends. The linguistic affairs of a country ought to be considered in the light of various political, educational, socio-cultural, economic, financial and other practical considerations.
Here the linguists and other social scientists form a forum to discuss how some of these problems can be overcome. Let’s hope a clearer picture will emerge from these discussions about the nature and scope of social scientists, particularly linguists, in solving the language question on a more realistic basis. Unbiased and scientific investigations of various problems concerning language by linguists, sociologists and historians might help in arriving at the most widely acceptable solutions.
Dr. Katre has been the guiding spirit in organising this Seminar. We are very glad that the he has consented to inaugurate it. I now request Dr. Katre to inaugurate the Seminar.
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