Early South Asian Linguistic Archive Released

Saturday, October 16, 2010
Gerald Hall - hall@crl.edu

The Digital South Asia Library (DSAL) recently released the complete audio and transcripts of the Gramophone Recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India.

DSAL’s presentation consists of digitized sound recordings (originally on 242 gramophone discs) collected in South Asia from 1913 until 1929 as part of the Linguistic Survey of India. Under the direction of Sir George A. Grierson, the recordings were undertaken by provincial and presidential governments of British-ruled India and produced by the Gramophone Company, Calcutta. The recordings contain specimen samples of languages (often read from a standard passage) as well as a selection of regional stories, songs, and poems. Although representing only a portion of the total Linguistic Survey, the recordings document nearly 100 dialects and languages spoken in the Indian Empire. The original gramophone recordings are held at the British Library’s Sound Archive.

Support for this activity was provided by a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the Technical Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) program.