Why LIS-India

Now the century old Sir George Grierson's monumental Linguistic Survey of India (LSI) remains to date the only pan Indian survey giving descriptive account of the grammatical and other aspects of most of the Indian languages. In the post Independence period, there have been several other pan Indian surveys but limited in scope e.g. the survey of the written languages of India, dealing with the degree and modes of use by B.P. Mohapatra and G. D. McConnell; a survey of Indian languages and scripts as part of the People of India project on Indian communities by the Anthropological Survey of India under the leadership of Kumar Suresh Singh; a survey of English in India by Rama Kant Agnihotri and A.L Khanna, problematising the status of English in India; and some regional surveys such as the linguistic survey of the Punjab by Harjeet Singh Gill, dealing with dialect variation in Punjabi; Dialect survey of Marathi by A. M. Ghatge of the Deccan College, Pune; a survey of language use in Himachal Pradesh by the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, under the leadership of Bal Gobind Misra and H.R. Dua; an encyclopedic survey of the Dravidian languages by the International School of Dravidian Languages, under the leadership of V. I. Subramoniam; etc. apart from the numerous studies of various kind on many of the specific Indian languages in pre and post Independence period in India and abroad. Grierson's LSI, though monumental is, nevertheless, often found partial, inadequate and outdated in terms of coverage and content. A replication of the Survey, a dire need though, in the changed circumstances at the beginning of this new millennium, would mean an entirely new enterprise in form, method and content. Language Information Services (LIS)-India, a major Project of the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) started under the country's X Plan is envisaged to meet this need. Taking advantage of the fairly vast pool of linguistics expert human resources developed over the decades in the country, advances in knowledge and the developments of digital technology, it is envisaged as a national, ongoing and a cumulative process as compared to once in a period of time phenomenon. LIS-India is development, and not surveillance, oriented.

What is LIS-India?

Language Information Services (LIS)-India is a web based, on line, multi- media, authentic, comprehensive information source in the public domain on the Indian languages. In terms of its coverage of content and languages, it is envisaged to provide answers to all possible questions that one would like to ask about any or all the Indian languages including English- their grammar, history, functions, scripts, the number of speakers and their spread including diasporas, bi or multilingualism, literacy and education, language technologies and digitarcy, literatures and litterateurs including translations and translators, all linguistic artifacts from sign boards and place names to books, news papers, periodicals and other mass media, etc. that would be useful to a layman as well as a linguist or any other specialist interested in the Indian Linguistic landscape, its richness, dynamics and vitality. It is envisaged to be useful for language planning and social development with a scope for social engineering.

It is to provide several additional utility packages such as on-line language learning, lexical resources and language corpora, spelling and grammar checkers, pronunciation patterns and translation tools and services through macro level linkages

How of LIS-India

Language Information Services (LIS)-India is to be based on specially undertaken new field studies and published documents, including that of LSI. As a national task, it would involve (besides CIIL) various research and teaching Institutes Universities/Experts in Linguistics/Language/Literature and other related fields in the country with the Central Institute of Indian Languages as the nodal and sole funding agency coordinating and carrying out the work. Content creation on different languages is done in the project mode under the present X plan and is entrusted to different experts as Chief Resource Persons-cum-Supervisors (CRPSs), who in turn gets the work done with the help of different experts as Resource Persons (RPs) under their supervision. The material thus generated is pooled together, edited by experts and then made available on the web site. The information could be accessed in a general or a specific way by using search options on the Home Page. LIS-India is envisaged as an on going project with the information, in terms of content and coverage, being continually updated and expanded and therefore open-ended. The registered end users could also add to the database by using the Add Data option on the Home Page. Information thus received would be scrutinized and then added to the database.
For reference and facilitating the users to see the changes in the country’s linguistic scenario over the century ever since the first Linguistic Survey of India (LSI) by Sir.George Grierson, the LIS-India site would also have the all the volumes of the LSI in .pdf format.

CIIL-India Mysore