Official State Languages query

gail at gail at
Mon Aug 19 16:36:07 UTC 1996

We *could* certainly be pragmatic about it, but the problem this leads to
is discrimination against speakers of languages that continue to be
treated politically as dialects: one obvious way in which they are
discriminated against is that as long as their languages are considered
'dialects' they cannot claim the right to have schools in their own
languages. Thus, Marwari speakers can potentially demand this right based
on the definition of a language as one that possesses a script and written
literary tradition, but speakers of various adivasi (tribal) languages

Gail Coelho

On Mon, 19 Aug 1996, Lars Martin Fosse wrote:

> >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). 
> ... We might be
> pragmatic and simply say that what is defined - politically - as a language
> is a language, no matter what the linguistic facts are. (Or vice versa: What
> can be defined linguistically as a dialect, is a dialect no matter what the
> political preferences are). 
> Best regards,
> Lars Martin Fosse

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