Mahalanobis as a Language Planner
Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
Indian Statistical Institute
Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol. XXII, No. 1, pp. 49-57, 1996
In this paper, the microanalysis of language was related to the macro problem of language planning as well as economic planning. As language has a statistical structure, planning depends a lot on the linguistic quantification. There is a vast area of research in this field of quantitative linguistics, which is directly linked to Economic Planning and Information theory. THE ARCHIVE When we found a large corpus comprising lexical items with their frequency of occurrences collected from different Bangla texts, written by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay and Rabindranath Tagore, in the Linguistic Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata (India), it was amazing for us to find out the fact behind this work manually done by booking-posting method. This project was initiated by Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanabis, a well-known Physicist, Statistician and an Economic Planner, in the 1940s. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya, a noted Statistician, in his Ph.D. dissertation (1965) “Some Statistical Studies on Languages”, depicted the objectives of such work: (a) working towards a basic Bangla Primer based on statistical analysis of frequently used lexical items; (b) preparing graded textbooks for children in three different age groups; (c) Statistico-stylistic analysis of representative Bengali authors. It is also to be mentioned that Iswarchandra Vidyasagar, who collected Bangla words with their frequency of occurrences in as early as late 19 C with a view to write a primer, was the first person in India to conceive the idea of Statistical Linguistics and language planning (cf. Musa, 1989 and Vamgiya Sahitya Parisat Patrika, VIII: 2). ECONOMIC PLANNING AND LANGUAGE PLANNING This paper argued that there were also other objectives of this corpus planning, which is ultimately related to Mahalanabis’s economic planning. The second five-year plan (1956-1961) of the Indian Government was envisaged and framed by Mahalanabis. For the purpose of, Mahalanabis emphasized, in his four-sector model, on the theoretical science, education, research and development for the growth of a self-reliant economy. This statistico-stylistic work would ultimately contribute to the morale of Mahalanabis’s closed-door economics as this analysis of linguistic corpus led to the development of indigenous printing technology, communication engineering; and even in the realm of cryptography, this quantified corpus could be utilized. Furthermore, this linguistic corpus would also be helpful for preparing graded primers with a view to eradicate illiteracy. Thus, though at this moment of globalization, Mahalanabis Model is in oblivion, the corpus planning envisaged by him in connection with his economic planning has a deep impact in the realm of self-reliant epistemological thinking and praxis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11
Keywords: Economic Planning, Language PlanningAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 4, 2012
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