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Kannada and Telugu to be Classical Language

New Delhi, Fri, 31 Oct 2008 NI Wire

“Kannada” and “Telugu” will be classified as Classical Languages on November 1, the day of Kannada Rajyotsava or the Karnataka formation day and also the formation day of the Andhra Pradesh.

The Minister of Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni announced the decision at a press conference Friday in New Delhi.

Soni said that the decision is based on the recommendation of the Committee of Linguistic Experts set up by the Ministry of Culture.

According to George L Hart, Professor of Tamil language at the University of California, Berkeley, any language to classify into the Classical Languages must fulfill certain criteria: “It should be ancient. It should be an independent tradition that arose mostly on its own, not as an offshoot of another tradition, and it must have a large and extremely rich body of ancient literature.”

In other words, a language should have an extensive influence over an extended period of time, even after it is no longer a colloquial mother tongue in its original form. If one language uses roots form another language to coin words, the latter is considered a classical language.

“Representation were received from a wide spectrum of political and civil opinion from both Karnataka and Ahdhra Pradesh for declaration of Kannada and Telugu languages as Classical Languages,” said Soni.

These representations were referred to a Committee of Linguistic Experts and the Committee has recently recommended that both Telugu and Kannada languages should be classified as Classical Languages, she added.

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