Linguistic Survey of India

Published 1903-1928

A monumental publication describing every known language and dialect of the South Asian subcontinent — 179 languages and 544 dialects — the Linguistic Survey of India was compiled over thirty years under the leadership of George A. Grierson, a language scholar and a civil servant. The five volumes on non-Indo-European languages were prepared by Sten Konow.

A note in volume v, part 1 states that volume 1 "will contain a summary and review of the whole work." "An introductory sketch, a bibliography, and a brief account of the grammar is provided for each language," also, "a comparative list of words, grammatical forms and test-phrases." "Except in a few trifling instances, each dialect and sub-dialect is represented by a version of the parable of the prodigal son, printed in the vernacular character, when such exists, and also in the roman character .... Other specimens of the more important dialects are also given. These are mainly pieces of folklore recorded in the actual words of the persons who narrated them."

Gramophone recordings were collected in South Asia from 1913 through 1929 as a supplement to the Linguistic Survey of India. Digital copies of the recordings of stories, songs, and poems are available from the Digital South Asia Library.

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