Vital Statistics

Yashwant Malaiya malaiya at CS.COLOSTATE.EDU
Wed Jan 5 13:25:01 EST 2000


Samar Abbas wrote:

>A very correct observation. Not only that, a Mithili expert would not be
>able to read a true Rajsathani work because Mithili and Rajasthani use
>different scripts (Mithili uses one akin to Bengali, Rajasthani uses
>Mahajani and Bhojpuri uses Kaithi).

At one time, several variations of Devanagari were in use in India.
To see examples of Mahajani and Kaithi, one would have to dig out
some old hand-written texts or see specialized books. No one today
uses these variant scripts.

>  In India, what constitutes language and dialect are settled by
>differences of script - thus few claim that Bengali is a dialect of
>Hindi. Consistent logic demands that since Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Maithili
>and Khari Boli use different scripts, these be recognised as different
>languages. This has been somewhat consistently done by the editors of
>Ethnologue.

Maithili is today written in standard Devanagari.

I have been informed that Ethnologue is funded by some religious
organizations with specific objectives.

>  Indeed, there are powerful movements underway attempting to
>reclaim the ancient heritage of the speakers of these languages.
>....Unfortunately, vested interests are attempting to destroy these
>... stubborn refusal in certain quarters to concede demands  restoration
>..Sooner or later, Chhatisgarhi is going to surface in censuses all
>across the world as an independant language.
>The power bloc which suppressed these languages for the past 50 years is
>now in irreversible decline;

I also grew up speaking a dialect, Bundelkhandi.

I wonder what "Power-block" Dr. Abbas has in mind. In India
power has belonged to a class of people who think English is
the only respectable language. PM Vajpayee's granddaughter
can only speak English, it was reported. The educated,
wealthy and influential young people in India today increasingly
use Indian languages for talking with their servants and the
like.

Yashwant



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