A. State and Societal

3. Process in Planning


Santali is diverse in terms of language, caste, economic status, occupation etc., and seems to be outwardly in a complex society. To check this hypothesis, it must undertake to recognise speech situation & speech perception as formal or informal and the like. Population of Santali is drawn not only from different parts of the State of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa but also from different states of the country. Naturally the number of languages spoken is influenced by the zones of communications where particular language dominates the networks of various linguistic group for the use of a particular language over other language. Speakers of the same language coming from distant geographical areas & varieties speak different languages. People of Santali not only speak different languages and dialects but also are aware of it. They speak different varieties of Santali though they identify themselves and are identified by others as Santali speaker as against the neighbouring language community.

Speech perception: It is pointed out by the experimental work done in two different areas. On the one hand, the conception is of simple phonetic contrasts in isolated term (wards) of syllables. On the other hand, the extension is to move complex contexts and the apparently tireless ability of the perceptual system to exploit the slight difference in sound. The conceptual base of this endeavor has been challenged since the traditional destination between a perceptual clue and its context become unworkable. Instead, a number of new approaches have been made.

Psycholinguists have renewed speech scientist in the perception of word with techniques that emphasize on the unique properties of spoken rather than written words.

Spoken and written language:

In santal societies oral language is still visible in those areas of the country where developed Santali term has even not been committed to paper, and yet varying degrees of traditions are maintained without any form of writing.

Therefore, writing must have been an attempt to represent the language that was spoken. The question of how to represent spoken language exactly is not solved, though some modern system of phonetic transcription terms is used. Spoken languages must be analysed in phonological, grammatical, semantic as well as phonetic terms. It is in this sense that terms such as speech community are used, referring to any regionally or socially definable human group identified by a linguistic system. The momentum of present day thinking is on the viability of the mother tongue as medium of instruction and its importance in planning for education.

Language Terminology:

The terms 'Term and Terminology' require some comment, since its use is often confusing. A terminology suggested here seems to fit with majority usage term, it applies both to words and to phrases that express a whole idea.

Number of Santali speakers :

Among the Tribal Languages and dialects of India, Santali is the speech of the largest number. 17,95,113 persons have written it as their mother tongue during the last Census of 1901. (Linguistic Survey of India - 32,47,058.)

Percentage rate of speakers in numbers during ten yr. 1951 to 1961
languageNumber of SpeakersPercentage of growth
Santali1951 1961
28,11,57232,47,05821. 5.(17)
 	Source: Census of India, 1961, Vol. I, pt. II (II).
	Language Tables, Delhi, 1964.

• The figure in parenthesis indicate the percentage rate of speakers growth during 1961 to 1971.

Percentage of Santali speakers in different states
LanguageRegion (State or union territory%
SantaliBihar W. Bengal51%
W. Bengal35%
	Sources  :Census of  India 1961.


The table given below shows the rate of bilingualism and percentage of other subsidiary language.

LanguageRate of bilingualismOther subsidiary languages %
Gondi49Hindi (47) Marathi (30)
Oraon45Hindi (63)
Santali35 Bengali(54) Oriya (12)


The Santali speakers are widely scattered for 3000 miles from the Ganges in the north to the Baitarni in the south. District wise the Santali speakers are scattered in :- Old Santali pargana, the south of Bhagalpur and Munghyr, the west of Bankura and in the western corner of Midnapur in the district of W. Bengal. In the district of Orissa in the greater portion of Mayurbhanj and Nilgiri, the north west of Baleshwar, the north o east of Keonjhar, Singhbum – Dalbhum, Saraikela, Kharswan, Manbhum, the east of Hazaribagh. They are further scattered in the south west of Dinajpur and the adjoining tracts of Malda, Rajshahi and Bogra, and in the south west of Rangpur, Jalpaiguri and Assam.

Non resident immigrants have continued to bring the languages by employment, industrial labour etc. to most part of the country. In places where the Santals have established a kind of social continuum, the linguistic boundary has spread, and is still spreading at the limit of their settlement. Sprinkling of Santal population is also found in Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Nepal, Bangladesh and East Pakistan. Santals fought with Aryans, both Vedic and non Vedic, and made peace with them. Many of them remained unaffected by Aryan culture and language for quite a long time.


Language is the expression of ideas which is combined into words by means of speech sound. Words are combined into sentences and this combination convert ideas into thought.

Language is close to everyone- it is a necessary part of what one is- it is often difficult to think about it without comparing it with systems which lack many of its attributes. Santals have complex and unique interlocking relationship with their environment, their history, one another and themselves which are constituted by, as well as mediated through language. They enable to communicate without abstract language and culture. Language interacts with every other aspect of humanlife in society. Language and society are mutually indispensable. The importance of language in society cannot be minimized. Sociologically language moulds the individual from infancy. Language and culture seem to imply a dichotomy that language is transmitted as part of culture and culture is transmitted very largely through languages.

Today the language system exists in certain backward regions, including the vast rural areas of Bihar, Bengal, some part of Orissa, the tribal region and the isolated tract in the hilly state. In most other part of the country the traditional language system has faded away following the impact of advance culture and higher education.

New innovation arises in response to a number of influences, some from out side the urban and Industrial areas and other from within. External influence include social change within the community, development in town and modern city estates, economic development and changes in patterns of demand for labour.

Influence from within: The society or organisation may include the use of different vernaculars, script (Devanagari, Roman, Bengali. Oriya, Ol chiki) as well as modernisations of traditions, culture, through innovative behaviour and through transformation of oral non writing culture into literate writing culture.

In the linguistic jigsaw puzzle of Santali, without a proper appreciation of this complex pattern one is likely to miss the significance of one of the most characteristic aspect of Santali language, namely, its multiple character.

The “Ol script” is a new addition for the consideration of Santali as its language. The distribution of Santali in various linguistic areas has got its due impact on Santali language in the form of using script and mode of speaking. With the addition of the script, the mode of communication among its members living in various ecological settings is taking a definite term. The great diversity of Santali language is due to regional impact rather than powerful feeling of common identity or of National integration. It is more varied, and marked for difference in culture, regional differences and habit of daily life.

Unfortunately there are some disagreement regarding this, Santals have formed new religious institutions like “Jugdahar”, “Sari Sarna”, and “Sari Dharam”, Which are unique in themselves. Even within the areas of Chotanagpur, the Santal language and culture is interacting with the various ethnic groups and are changing in new direction. The Santali culture has accepted both modernity and self identity with a new vigour.

Standard language

A standard language is a particular variety of a language that has been given either legal or quasi-legal status. As it is usually the form promoted in schools and the media, it is usually considered by speakers of the language to be more "correct" in some sense than other dialects. But from the linguistic point of view, no one variety is “better” than another. They are simply different. From a social point of view, some varieties do of course, become more prestigious. Standard language has usually been once socially prestigious dialect, originally connected with a political or cultural centre.

The Santals in different part of the country speak different languages, and, people living in the same setting use different language or speak different dialects, which are unrelated.

Regional variations: Two different people growing up in the same geographical area, may speak different variety of language due to a number of social factors. These differences in the language of the people of the country have served to limit intergroup communications and have perpetuated social isolation. Language is an instrument of communication, and a language itself does not communicate. A speaker must assess the situation and use the linguistic system at his command to encode the idea in a signal form which the hearer will be able to reconstruct at least approximately to the idea that prompt the utterance.

Need for a standard language:

A universal and standard language may help a great deal in removing the cultural barriers and bring the people of the country nearer to each other thereby serving the course of integration and cooperation. No doubt, an universal and standard language may help in the cultural unification of the people of the country & remove misunderstandings that grow out of inability to communicate effectively. But the practical difficulty is to find out such a standard language.

The diversity of Santali language has led, to the variation of speech, style, racial and cultural pattern of state government administration, geographical-climatic environment etc.

Criteria for language standardization:

4. Effects of Planning

The greatest draw back of the educational planning has been its inability to develop an educational system suitable to the tribal people. This deficiency is strikingly reflected in the total neglect of tribal language as the media of teaching at the early school stage. The tribal children thus feel handicapped in relation to non tribal children and the basic inferiority complex is built into their thought process right from the beginning. The resultant communication gap affects adversely tribal students for science courses. Even the adult education programmes have failed to make use of tribal languages and idioms as a medium of communication.


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