Lecture by Mark Turin, Linguistic Survey of Sikkim

News item posted on: November 5th, 2008
Linguistic Survey of Sikkim: Preliminary Results, Methodological Challenges and Social Context

By Dr. Mark Turin, Cornell University & University of Cambridge

From September 2005 to November 2006, under the auspices of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and in close partnership with the Government of Sikkim, India, Dr. Turin directed the first phase of a modern linguistic survey of
Sikkim. During the survey process, the research team visited 105 government and private secondary schools across Sikkim to administer an extensive questionnaire on language use to students in classes 8-12. The preliminary results of these 17,000 completed survey forms offer insights into the process of language shift from indigenous mother tongues to regional vernaculars, the growing importance of linguistic heritage and feelings of group belonging over actual competence in specific languages, and the symbolic and practical steps taken by the state government to support linguistic diversity in Sikkim.

Sponsored by the Linguistics Program and the Center for South Asian Studies