Sambalpuri of Orissa, India: A Brief Sociolinguistic Survey

Statement of Responsibility:
Mathai, Eldose K. and Juliana Kelsall

This report is on Sambalpuri (ISO 369-3: spv) of Orissa, India. The report summarises sociolinguistic research conducted in October 2006. The locations visited during the fieldwork were in Sambalpur, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, and Balangir districts of Orissa. The purpose of this research was to assess the need for further language and literature development in Sambalpuri. We conducted informal interviews to gain broad insights into the sociolinguistic situation. Questionnaires enabled us to find out about language use and attitudes among Sambalpuri speakers. Wordlist comparisons provided information about lexical similarity levels among Sambalpuri speech varieties, as well as between Sambalpuri and Standard Oriya (ISO 639-3: ory). These preliminary findings suggest that Sambalpuri language vitality is good. There is expressed interest among mother tongue speakers for continued language development. The lexical similarity between Sambalpuri and Standard Oriya is high enough to indicate possible intelligibility. Additional research is needed to clarify the linguistic relationship between Sambalpuri and Standard Oriya, and to provide a basis for making more specific recommendations regarding further Sambalpuri language development.

10 pages
Language surveys
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