Vital Statistics

Artur Karp hart at POLBOX.COM
Tue Jan 4 04:13:01 EST 2000

Dear Drs. Ganesan, Malaiya, Wessler,

At Hindi speakers form 40.22% of
India's population; an outsider would form a picture of a solid linguistic
block. Am I right, however, in supposing that a villager from Mithila would
be still unable to communicate with a villager from around Bikaner without
resorting to some third (link) language - in this case, most probably,
Bazari Hindustani?

According to "Ethnologue", in 1991 Hindi as such was the language of
180,000,000 and of  "346,513,000 or nearly 50% including second language
users in India". Which agrees with the number given in 1991 census.

Solid and detailed data on tribal ~ scheduled castes populations and their
languages are hard to obtain. Digest forms of censuses do not show important
"tribal" languages (like e.g. Gondi, or Santali), even if they are used by
much larger populations than some of the "scheduled languages". It's quite
easy to obtain the exact number of Sanskrit speakers, but extremely hard to
find even approximate data on Nahali.

Will try to obtain Krishna, Sumi, India's Living Languages : The Critical
Issues, New Delhi [etc.] 1991. Thank you. I would be especially grateful for
bibliographical data on linguistic situation in ancient India (have a lot
on Indo-Aryans, less on Dravidians - and practically nil on Mundas).

On Nahali:

1) According to "Ethnologue" (see under NIHALI, or search the data-base
using NHL) 5,000 in 1987.

G. A. Zograf in his "Jazyki Juznoj Azii" (South Asian Languages; Moskva
1990) gives some attention to Nahali (Nihali, Kalto); according to his data
in 1961 Nahali had ca 1200 speakers. On p. 202 Nahali bibliography:

Bhattacharya S. Field-Notes on Nahali. - IL (Indian Liguistics), 17 (1957) -
Kuiper F.B.J. Nahali. A Comparative Study. - Mededeilingen der Koninklijke
Nederl. Akademie v. Wetensch.., Afd. Letterk., N.R. 25/5 (1962) -
Kuiper F.B.J. The Sources of the Nahali Vocabulary. - Zide N.H. (ed.).
Studies in Comparative Austroasiatic Linguistics. The Hague 1966  -
Shafer R. Nahali. A Linguistic Study in Paleoethnography. - HJAS (Harvard
Journal of Asiatic Studies), 5 (1940) -

2) The westernmost Munda dialect... Is it not Kurku (Korku) - Mahadeo Hills
and slightly to the west, into Maharashtra? Zograf (p. 152) has 284,000 in
1971; "Ethnologue" 455,436 (?, for 1994).

With regards,

Artur Karp
University of Warsaw

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