A. Dialectal

1. Regional variation

The distribution of Santali speakers is widely scattered. They are mainly concentrated in five states of India, Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal, Orissa and Assam. Most of the languages of Indian states have a typological set, i.e., `nation state`. They share the common ethnicity and a common language e.g., Jharkhand – Hindi, Santali, Bihar – Hindi, Bengal – Bengali, Orissa – Oriya, Assam – Assamese etc. It has been said that Santali language is written in many scripts such as Oriya, Bengali, Devanagri, Roman, Assamese and Ol Chiki. Santali speakers use a particular script of other language and they are aware of it. Sometime they identify themselves and are identified by others as Santali speakers as against the neighbouring language community. The diversity of Santali language due to regional impact resulted in the confusion and disintegration among its members, rather than powerful feeling of common identity. The distribution of the Santali in various linguistic areas has got its due impact on the Santali language. With the addition of the script, mode of speaking and the mode of communication among its members living in a various ecological settings is taking a difinite pattern. In the Santali zone, the word for “Guava” is “suitam”, “supra”, “piyari”, “anjir” similarly for the word “to take bathe” which the common glossary gives “um”. Santal of Santhal Pargana use “Dabra”, Orissa “um”, “jobe”, in Tundi (Dhanbad) area use as “Bohel” and Bengal “ReyaR”, “tupu”. It would be better to attribute register specific meaning to each one, for those who seek uniformity.

B. Diglossia

1. Diglossic situation: Spoken variety/Common standard variety/Written variety

The political fragmentation of the Santali language community and the resultant distribution of their speakers in different states adversely affect almost all the process of language standardization. For example if one is examining graphization the following questions should be answered. In what script the Santali language has to be reduced to writing: should it be Devnagari, Bengali, Oriya, or Roman script? Will the Santal speakers of West Bengal and Orissa accept Devnagari script for writing Santali? When the Santali language speakers of this region are bilingual in the state official languages, what will be the scope of elaboration in their language? Will they accept their language? Can they be elaborated for use in education, administration and mass communication? Certainly the situation is far more complex than it is realized, mainly because the formal communicative needs of the people are already met by completed state languages.


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