Significance

The focus in language technology has, unfortunately, been on major Western languages (like, English, German and French). There is a growing awareness among the research community that these technical advances can and should also be used in documenting smaller and lesser-known languages of the world, because this could be an effective tool for spreading awareness about these languages and for maintaining the rich linguistic diversity (ÓCróinín 2000) of countries like India.

At the same time, it should also be highlighted that it is not only minor Indian languages which stand to gain from this collaboration, rather also the domain of language technology itself – because it gets a testing ground for its tools and programs on languages which typologically differ significantly from literate Western languages. Such experience will lead to the development of technological tools and programs with wider applicability. A similar kind of analogy can also be seen in the cooperation which is being proposed in this project – where CIIL brings to the project their linguistic, archiving and documenting expertise and Uppsala its experience of using electronic technology to work towards one common goal – to make available digital annotated linguistic database of Indian minority languages.

Further, the results of this project will directly as well as indirectly help regression of the phenomenon of language death by spreading awareness about these lesser-known languages and by documenting these languages. To that extent, this work will also be a contribution to the studies in language endangerment. Further, it will also contribute in our understanding of typological characteristics of languages of this region and about the interplay of sociocultural factors and linguistic structure.