Official State Languages query

David Magier magier at
Mon Aug 19 13:47:53 UTC 1996

> I believe that Marwari is a dialect amd mot a language - a language being
> defined as having a script, and more importantly its own literature. There
> are over 200 dialects in India, all of which are in use. Since these are
> dialects they do not find mention in the list of official languages.

Not to go into this too far, there are perhaps thousands of dialects in
India, and probably more than a hundred languages. Your definition of
"language" is not one used by any linguists or scholars of language.
Very many of the world's languages have never had a script, and have
not had written literature (though they are often quite rich in oral
literature). In any case, Marwari itself has both a script *and* a
rich literary tradition. However, most analyses would agree with you:
Marwari is a "dialect" of Rajasthani, rather than a distinct language.
In the context of a discussion of official languages, of course, I was
just joking (like the person who mentioned Tulu - another language
[not a dialect] that lacks such exalted status).
David Magier
Columbia University

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