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SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2011-048
Bagri of Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana: A Sociolinguistic Survey
Mathai, Eldose K.
The purpose of this sociolinguistic survey was to assess the need for mother tongue language development and literacy work in the Bagri language (ISO 639–3: bgq). Bagri is spoken in Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana states in India and in Pakistan; this survey focused on Bagri speech varieties in India. The fieldwork was conducted during October and November 2004. The researchers used wordlist comparisons, Hindi Sentence Repetition Testing (SRT), sociolinguistic questionnaires, informal interviews, and observations. The findings indicate that the Bagri language shows strong vitality. Tested, self–reported, and observed levels of proficiency in Hindi vary among Bagri speakers. In general, people who are less educated and who live in more rural settings show lower levels of Hindi bilingual ability. The researchers concluded that Bagri speakers would benefit from a vernacular language programme. Wordlist comparisons showed fairly high lexical similarity percentages among Bagri speech varieties across the entire language area in India. Dialect intelligibility testing is needed to further clarify which Bagri variety might serve as a central variety. Pending completion of such testing, language development could be started using one of the varieties from either the Ganganagar or Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan, where the majority of Bagri speakers in India are found.
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