Atlas of the Languages and Ethnic Communities of South Asia

Roland J.L. Breton, Sage, 1997, 230 p, 60 plates, ISBN : 8170366135, $85.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Preface. Introduction. I. General Presentation of the Languages and Ethnic Communities of South Asia: 1. India as an exemplary laboratory for the coexistence of languages and ethnic communities. 2. Language compared to other ethnic traits: congruences and discrepancies. 3. From language dynamics to linguism. II. The Sixty Plates with their Commentaries: 4. Introduction: The Regional Semiographic Analysis. 5. Indian languages throughout the subcontinent and the world. 6. The northwest. 7. The Hindi belt. 8. The Himalayas and the northeast. 9. The peripheral Indo-Aryan and the central Adivasi belts. 10. The Dravidian south and Sri Lanka. 11. The non-regional languages. 12. The linguistic states, the media and the metropolitan situations. 13. Ethno-linguistic issues throughout the subcontinent and around. 14. The linguistic situation up to the 1991 census. Annexures: a. Presentation of tables and charts. b. Tables of mother tongues of ethnic groups over 1,000 persons according to various national censuses. c. The language classification chart. Select Bibliography. Language classification and plate Index. Subject and Author Index.

"This geographical atlas constitutes the first systematic presentation of the spatial and quantitative characteristics of the distribution of languages in the seven countries of South Asia. Utilizing a semiographic analysis and combining and comparing language data from various national censuses covering a forty year period, this atlas enables readers to actually see the geographical location, extension and linguistic affinities of any of the numerous languages spoken in South Asia.

The atlas is divided into two parts. In the first part, Professor Breton introduces the reader to the general relationship between language and the complex ethno-cultural structure of the subcontinent, and raises interesting consideration on language as a component of cultural identity. He stresses both the importance of and difficulties in analyzing the vitality of South Asian language groups. Examining the similarities and differences in language use and various ethnic traits among similar population groups, Professor Breton explores the relationship between language on the one hand and race, tribe, caste and religion on the other.

The second part--which comprises 60 plates (in the form of maps and graphs) along with supporting text--is devoted to graphically analyzing a large number of aspects. These include the regional distribution of language and ethnic communities in Pakistan and Jammu & Kashmir, the Hindi Belt; the Himalayas and the Northeast; the Indo-Aryan and Central Adivasi Belts; and the Dravidian South and Sri Lanka. Other plates are devoted to depicting non-regional languages such as English; the main linguistic minorities; the language profile of metropolitan cities; and ethnolinguistic issues throughout the subcontinent.

The author provides conclusion drawing attention to geolinguistic studies, language preservation and territorial management in other countries. The atlas also contains extensive classification charts, a bibliography and an exhaustive index.

An indispensable reference and resource tool for any library, this important atlas will be of particular value to all those in the areas of linguistics, geography, cultural studies, anthropology, ethnology and political science."

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