The Central Institute of Indian Languages was set up on
the 17th July, 1969 with a view to assisting and co-ordinating
the development of Indian Languages. The Institute was
charged with the responsibility of serving as a nucleus to bring
together all the research and literary output from the various
linguistic streams to a common head and narrowing the
the gap between basic research and developmental research
in the fields of languages and linguistics in India.
The Institute and its four Regional Language Centres are
thus engaged in research and teaching which lead to the publication
of a wide-ranging variety of materials. Preparation of materials
designed for teaching/learning at different levels and suited to
specific needs is one of the major areas of interest of the
Institute. Basic research relating to the acquisition of language
and study of language m its manifold psycho-social relations
constitute another broad range of its interest. The publications
will include materials produced by the members of the staff of
the Central Institute of Indian Languages and its Regional
Language Centres and associated scholars from universities and
institutions, both Indian and foreign.
The Central Institute of Indian Languages has initiated the
Phonetic Reader Series in Indian languages with a view to
presenting the range of phonetic variation obtaining in this
sub-continent and demonstrating the closeness of languages on the
basis of phonetic patterning. These Readers are biased towards
learning the sound systems of languages. Thus it is hoped that
this series will be of interest to both scholars who are interested
in Phonetic studies and practical learners of languages who wish
to make a beginning in their language study.
If these materials help solving the problems in the State
and help in understanding the people speaking the language,
then our efforts will have been amply rewarded.
About six per cent of the population of India is tribal.
There have been three views about how best they can be drawn
into the mainstream of our national life. One obvious way is
not to draw them at all and leave them alone and preserve their
culture and traditions intact as museum pieces. The other
extreme view has been to sort of drown them in the mainstream
and completely assimilate them. The third view is to see that
the best in their traditions and cultures that is consistent with
modern life is preserved and they are integrated so that they
maintain their individuality and at the same time participate in
and benefit by the modern developments.
It is also the considered view of all the people that matter
that these tribal should be integrated with the regional population amidst whom they live. This can be done only when they
are approached through their own mother tongues. It is also
obvious that it is impracticable to use their mother tongues
throughout their education. Their mother tongues are to be used
so that they can effectively be integrated into the regional
population. This does not mean that they should forsake their
mother tongues, but only means that they should gain native like
fluency in their respective regional languages as early as possible.
It is for this purpose that their languages have to be scientifically
studied and grammatical sketches and vocabularies have to be
prepared. The scripts of the regional languages have to be
adopted for writing their languages. Primers and text books have
to be prepared.
To do all this the expertise of the linguists of the country
should be placed at the disposal of persons interested in the
education of tribal. Administrators who come in frequent
contact with the tribal have to learn to speak fluently the
tribal language in question. Learning a language implies an
acquisition of a good pronunciation. Firstly, the learner must
acquire the capacity to recognise readily without any error the
various speech sounds occurring in the language he is learning.
Secondly, he must acquire the capacity to produce them with the
help of his own vocal organs. Thirdly, he must acquire the
capacity to produce the individual! speech sounds he has learnt in
sequences. [n addition to these three skills, which may be sufficient to gain a reasonable pronunciation, the learner, depending
on his needs, has to get a mastery over the orthography of the
language he is learning. This involves developing automatic
associations between written forms and speech sounds.
The Phonetic Readers in this series have been designed
with the above points in view. They are mainly intended to
meet the needs of administrators who have to learn the language
Each Reader consists of a brief exposition about the organs
of speech and their functions. It also introduces some technical
terms. Then each speech sound is described in detail giving the
movements of the vocal organs. Each description is rounded
off by the technical term for that sound. A brief phonemic
statement which meaningfully groups the sounds described in the
preceding sections is also appended. A statement about the
correspondences between the phonemes of the language and the
letters used to write them comes at the end. In this section
suggestions for improvements in the existing orthography are
made. In the case of languages which have not yet been written,
suggestions for adopting the script of the regional language
It may be too much to claim that these Readers are perfect.
There are lacunae still to be filled up. The most conspicuous of
these is the lack of information on intonation. Suggestions for
improvement are welcome and will be incorporated in the
Though it is true that certain features of pronunciation can
only be learnt with the aid of a teacher, the utility of such
Readers cannot be underestimated. It is hoped that these
Readers will be useful to even persons other than those for
whom they are intended.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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