Mother Tongue Survey of India, involving 576 languages, is ready: what is this survey?

Source: The post is based on the article “Mother Tongue Survey of India, involving 576 languages, is ready: what is this survey?” published in Indian Express on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs has completed the Mother Tongue Survey of India(MTSI).

What is the Mother Tongue Survey of India(MTSI)?

MTSI is a project that “surveys the mother tongues which are returned consistently across two and more Census decades”. It also documents the linguistic features of the selected languages.

Aim: To preserve and analyze the original flavour of each indigenous mother tongue.

Surveying agencies: National Informatics Centre(NIC) and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) will be documenting and preserving the linguistic data of the surveyed mother tongues in audio-video files.

As part of this survey, field videography of 576 mother tongues was done. The video-graphed speech data of these languages and dialects will be uploaded to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) server for archiving purposes.

How many “mother tongues” does India have, and what is spoken the most?

Mother Tongues: As per an analysis of 2011 linguistic census data in 2018, more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues.

– Note: The category “mother tongue” is a designation provided by the respondent, but it need not be identical with the actual linguistic medium. Hence, after subjecting these languages to linguistic scrutiny, they were grouped into 121 mother tongues.

Most spoken Mother Tongue: Hindi is the most widely spoken mother tongue, with 52.8 crore people or 43.6% of the population declaring it as the mother tongue. The next highest is Bengali spoken by around 8% of the population.

Where does the mother tongue feature in the education of children? 

The new National Curriculum Framework(NCF) for the foundational stages of education, has recommended that the mother tongue should be the primary medium of instruction in schools for children up to eight years of age.

The focus on the mother tongue as the medium of instruction, especially for primary schooling, has been a feature of education policies for years.

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