Pune: For the first time, a dialectological survey of Marathi in Maharashtra is being conducted jointly by Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute (Deemed to be University), Pune and Rajya Marathi Vikas Sanstha (RMVS), Mumbai for three years from 2017 to 2020. Dialectology means documentation of vocabulary items (words), proverbs and folk songs, which is undertaken by researchers from many universities.
“To this day, Grierson’s ‘Linguistic Survey of India’ which was conducted in British India (1905-1926) is cited as the best example of dialectological work in India. Marathi dialects have been surveyed after Grierson, but it is assumed that Konkani is the only true dialect of Marathi or that dialect differences were primarily at the level of the lexicon (i.e. the vocabulary). Our joint project is based on the linguistic insight that dialects too have grammars,” said Sonal Kulkarni-Joshi.
A training programme was conducted at Deccan College from January 15 to April 18 which included an introduction to basic concepts in linguistics, methods in field linguistics, data analysis and use of internationally-used software for representation of grammatical data. The announcement of the project was made at the concluding event of the training programme held on Friday.
The researchers will focus on unravelling the geographical and social variation at the level of grammar (morpho-syntax) in Marathi. Speech samples will be collected from representative speakers of Marathi in various regions of the State. The data will consist of narratives, responses to a questionnaire and video-recorded stimuli. The data will be transcribed using an internationally used linguistic software. The linguistic analysis of the data will be presented in the form of dialect maps and reports. The project will result in one post-doctoral and one doctoral research. At the end of the project, the dialect data will be open source and made available to all researchers.
The trainees tried out data collection tools in the course of pilot fieldwork in 10 villages in Kolhapur district. Sixteen graduates were selected for the training programme, out of which 12 completed the training and received certificates on Friday. Eight trainees will join the project as project fellows. The project will be led by Sonal Kulkarni-Joshi, Professor in Department of Linguistics at Deccan College, Manasi Kelkar and Sambhaji Jadhav, both trained linguists will be working as senior and junior project coordinators respectively.
The project has been funded by RMVS, which is also providing a monthly stipend to those selected for the training programme.
Vice-Chancellor of Deccan College, Professor Vasant Shinde presided over the closing ceremony of the training programme and Anand Katikar, Director of RMVS was guest of honour.
Purpose of the study
“According to records, there are 60 Marathi dialects spoken in Maharashtra. The regional varieties of Marathi have rarely been analysed using a linguistic approach. Through this survey, we are trying to register how many different dialects are present in Maharashtra till 2018 and how is the grammar used. This survey will be handed over to the State government for official use and future linguistic students can refer to it as well,” said Anand Katikar, Director of RMVS.