Language in its literary meaning means a system of communication through speech, a collection of sounds that a group of people understand to have same meaning.
A language family : includes languages related through a common ancestor that existed before the recorded history.
Dialect :Form of a local language spoken in a limited area. It should be noted that several dialects can be derived from a common language.
The languages spoken in the subcontinent are derived from several language families but mostly they are from Indo - Aryan language families. Indo - Aryan language family is a part of the Indo European language family.
Indo Aryan Group of Languages : It is a branch of the larger Indo European group of languages which came to India with the advent of Aryans. It is the largest language group of India and around 74% Indians speak those languages which belong to this group. This group is mainly divided into three groups :
Old Indo Aryan Group : This group had its development around 1500 BC and Sanskrit was born around this period. The ancient form of sanskrit which is found in vedas, puranas, upanishads etc had emerged from this time. It is a scheduled classical language. One amongst 22 indian languages. It is also known as the mother of Indian languages. The understanding of the diversity and richness of our culture has been possible because of the development of sanskrit language during those time.
Middle Indo-Aryan Group (600 BC to 1000 AD):Prakrit was developed during this period. Prakrit was also the mother language for other languages such as Pali, Apabhramsha, Ardha Magadhi. Pali was one of the main language used in Budhist scripts. Buddha himself preached in Pali
Modern Indo Aryan Group :The languages belonging to this group are Hindi, assamese, bengali, Guarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Odia, Urdu etc. The language developed under this group are mainly spoken in the northern, western and eastern parts of India.
Dravidian Group : Group comprises mainly of languages spoken during the southern part of India. Around 25% of Indian population are covered in this group. Proto dravidian gave rise to 21 dravidian language. These are classified into three categories. Telugu is numerically the largest of all dravidian languages, Malayalam is smallest and youngest of the dravidian group.
Northern : Brahui (Baluchisthan), malto (tribal areas of bengal and odisa) and kurukh (bengal, odisa, bihar, madhya pradesh) are the main languages.
Southern : Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Tulu, Kodagu, Toda and Kota. Tamil is the oldest amongst these.
Central : It consists of eleven languages i.e. gondi, Khond, Kui, Telugu. Only Telugu became a civilised language and is spoken in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Sino Tibetan group : Languages under this family belong to the Mongoloid family and stretch all over North Bihar, North Bengal, assam and in North East. These languages are considered older than Indo Aryan languages and are refered to in the oldest sanskrit literature as Kiratas.
Tibeto Burman :Tibetan, North Assamese, Burman, Manipuri are the most common languages spoken in this category.
Siamese Chinese :Ahom is one of the languages spoken in this category but it has already become extinct.
Austric : These are the languages spoken by the Munda or Kol group and spoken in central, eastern and north eastern india. Santhali is an important language spoken by the group and common among the santhal tribals such as Jharkhand, Bihar and Bengal.
|Indo Aryan group||Dravidian group|
|Roots words in the two languages are different|
|Grammatical structure of Indo Aryan group is inflected i.e. the words ending or its spelling changes according to its grammatical function in a sentence.||Grammatical structure of Dravidian family is agglutinative i.e. the combinations in which root words are united with little or no change of form or loss of words.|
In 2004, the Government of India declared that languages that met certain requirements could be accorded the status of a "Classical Language in India". Languages thus far declared to be Classical are Tamil (in 2004), Sanskrit (in 2005), Kannada (in 2008), Telugu (in 2008), Malayalam (in 2013), and Odia (in 2014).In a 2006 press release, Minister of Tourism & Culture Ambika Soni told the Rajya Sabha the following criteria were laid down to determine the eligibility of languages to be considered for classification as a "Classical Language".
High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500–2000 years; a body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; the literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; the classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
The Government has been criticised for not including Pali as a classical language, as experts have argued it fits all the above criteria.
Benefits for a classical language
Two major international awards for scholars of eminence in Classical Indian Languages are awarded annually.
A 'Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Languages' is set up.
The University Grants Commission be requested to create, to start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for Classical Languages for scholars of eminence in Classical Indian Languages.
National Translation Mission (NTM) is a Government of India initiative to make knowledge texts accessible, in all Indian languages listed in the VIII schedule of the Constitution, through translation. NTM was set up as per National Knowledge Commission's recommendation. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has designated Central Institute of Indian Languages as the nodal organization for the operationalization of NTM.
Its main objectives include generation of translation tools such as dictionaries and thesauri; development of software for translation, memory, etc.; promotion of machine translation and machine aided translation; translator education through orientation programs & courses; fellowships & grants for research projects, etc. Bringing visibility to translators and translation activities by organizing book launches for translations; instituting prizes and fellowships; organizing Regional Festivals of Translation; book exhibitions, etc. also are part of the activities of NTM.