The World of Indian Languages

 By: Kamaldeep Chandel
Since its inception in 1969, the CIIL institute has been involved in research training and material production in Indian languages. It advises and assists both the central government and state government in the matter of languages and promotes all Indian languages by creating content and corpus. Civil also documents minor, minority and tribal languages of India, and produces languages teaching materials.

Although the focus of work at the institute is on Indian language and linguistics, the institute has projects and faculty interests in a number of related areas like psychology, speech sciences, education, folklore, sociology, translation, comparative literature, language technology, natural language processing, geography and statistics, to name a few.

CIIL also has seven regional language centers to offer a 10-month second language teaching programme in 20 Indian language in the Eight Schedule meant mainly for school teachers and researches. These branches contribute to creation and maintenance of linguistic harmony by teaching Indian language to non-native leaners. A strong area of the institute is the Indian languages technology development.

In a given year, the institute collaborates with a 100-odd institution universities, professional societies, and the NGOs devoted to working on language, literature, culture and literacy, to co-host a multitude of national-level conference, seminars, colloquia and other such events

With the help of about 300-odd specialists and consultants at various levels, the faculty has also been engaged in the several project funded by ministries or state governments. In addition, there have been many collaborative and sponsored projects from a number of other agencies such as Unesco, Unicef, Microsoft, Motorola, Google India, Foundation for Endangered Languages, and Pearson Education among others.

The Institute has moved in five directions, and in each, a large number of the fresh scholarship have been involved as project fellows:-

There had been a major initiative in language technology, which has now been realized under a new project titled the Linguistic Data Consortium in Indian Language (LDC-IL) with institutional partner such as Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Iit-Bombay and industrial partner such as IBM and Microsoft. The LDC-IL takes advantage of the giant strides in IT made by India to address the need to enhance the machine-readable language data in Hindi and other Indian language on a large scale.

The other major initiative has been the creation of world-class language testing facilities through a special project called the national Testing Service (NTS). Based on our earlier work on this area with 100-odd books and a lot of test batteries, there is a multi-pronged action plan for the NTS to meet a variety of objective.

The Institute is currently engaged in setting up the National Translation Mission (NTM) which would urgently take up the task of identifying gaps, promoting good quality translation, training, disseminating information about translation and translators, and coordinating ongoing work by public and private organizations.

All this will require a large number of linguists and Indian language specialists. Even the census of India is looking for many such bright scholars in the work they are doing under their language division. Therefore, there is a slow but steady opening of opportunities for students of linguistics in all spheres.
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