Representatives of as many as 900 languages of the world will discuss and debate issues of erosion and conservation of languages at a international language meet to be held here this weekend.
The meet,named Bhasha Vasudha (languages of the world),is being organised by Bhasha Research and Publication Centre,a city-based organisation working for conservation of languages and oral traditions of marginalised communities. It will take place on January 7 and 8.
The world knows India as the country with the highest number of English-speaking population. However,we are equally rich in our language heritage. Roughly,850 languages are still spoken in our country and the conference is aimed at making the world aware of this linguistic diversity of India, professor (retired) Ganesh N Devy,founder of Bhasha Research and Publication Centre,announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
Prof Devy,who taught English literature at MS University of Baroda,said around 100 scholars,researchers and experts from 35 countries of the world will participate in the two-day meet.
During the meet,the Bhasha Research Centre will hold the pre-publication launch of the Peoples Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) for 12 states of Gujarat,Kerala,Tamil Nadu,Maharashtra,Rajasthan,Himachal Pradesh,Uttara Khand,Jammu & Kashmir,West Bengal,Orissa,Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. The survey covers a total of 375 Indian languages.
The PLSI is the first nationwide linguistic survey since George Griersons Linguistic Survey of India carried out at the beginning of the 20th century. Bhasha Centre has been working over it for several years and we will cover all the states of the country by end of this year, Prof Devy said.
Margaret Florey, an Australian scholar who has worked on languages of 12 countries and Denny Moore,a Brazilian linguist who has done pioneering work in recording indigenous languages in Amazon basin,will be among the high-profile experts at the meet.
Professor Geffery Davis of Oxford University and Prof Mark Elliott of Cambridge will also share their views at the conference.
Similarly,around 600 linguists and language activists from all parts of India will also take part in the event.
Among Indian delegates,noted Gandhian and Gujarati author Narayanbhai Desai,Mahasveta Devi,Kumar Ketkar and D P Pattanayak will also remain present.
While Argetinas Ambassador to India Juan Jose Santandar will also be a guest,Vibha Puri Das,Secretary in the Union HRD Ministry,will be the chief guest.
The main sessions of the meet will be held on Saturday at Sir Sayajirao Town Hall in Akota area of the city and in Dashrath,a village on the outskirt of Vadodara. On the second day,the delegates will travel to the Bhasha Centres Adivasi Academy in Tejgadh village of Pavi Jetpur taluka of Vadodara,and continue the discussion.
The institute,which has been recognised as as a centre of excellence by Union Ministry of Tribal affairs,will also launch websites in 122 Indian languages. After the launch,Bhasha Research Centre will hand over these websites to communities who will maintain them, Prof Devy said.