The present work attempts to identify spatial patterns of the extent and nature of language shifts among the tribal population in India. It provides social, economic and political dimensions of changing linguistic identity. Based on both secondary and primary data, some of the socio-economic variables have been statistically tested through Correlation and Regression to determine the relationship with language shifts. The impact of urbanisation and regional development on the linguistic behaviour of the tribal population has been analysed.
The study rejects the claim that language shift indicates the process of integration - rather it shows the process of assimilation of the tribal people into the majority culture group. In fact, language shifts among these societies have been perceived more often as social compulsions.
The study emphasises the need of promoting and preserving the tribal languages as these are cultural heritage of India. The study may provide a basis to understand the dynamics of language shift - as it might have implications of language planning in multilingual societies like India.
About the Author:
M. Ishtiaq (b. 1956) received his M.A., M.Phill. and Ph.D. degrees in Geography from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Social Geography is his specialisation. He has contributed more than two dozens of research papers on tribal languages of India published in the journals of national and international repute.
Dr. Ishtiaq is on the faculty of geography, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi since 1981. As a geographer, he has the distinction of receiving the Advanced Diploma in Cartography from the Survey of India, Hyderabad. His book on 'Practical Geography' is widely referred to as a text book in the Indian Universities. He is a life member of many Academic Associations/ Societies and a corresponding member of the Commission on Marine Geography, International Geographic Union, Italy.
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