In my Foreword to Dr. BHAGWAT’s Phonemic Frequencies in Marathi and Their Relation to Devising A Speed-Script, I had an occasion to refer to a similar
work on Hindi which had been completed departmentally at the Deccan College in 1960 and submitted to the Ministry of Education, New Delhi and express the
hope that that report might find a place in the Poona University and Deccan College Publications series in Linguistics. I am happy to note that this publication
has now been made possible and the present work will be available to scholars interested in the development of Indian languages. This is the second of the series
of publications which is intended to make available some essential and reliable statistical information of a linguistic nature about the major modern Indian
languages. The original plan was suggested by a special Committee appointed by the Ministry of Education, Government of India with Shri KAKASAHEB
KALELKAR as Chairman. The Ministry assigned the work of carrying on the count on different languages to different Indian universities on a regional basis.
Since the Deccan College had already completed the basic work on Marathi, the Ministry of Education entrusted the work on Hindi to the Deccan College. Dr. A.
M. GHATAGE who was working as Visiting Professor on the Language project at the Deccan College at that time, was entrusted with the work of supervision.
The count for Hindi time, was entrusted with the work of supervision. The count for Hindi had in the mean time made some progress. Finally it was decided that
the linguistic information of a statistical nature should be collected and presented in the form of the following 8 lists:
1. Frequency of words in an alphabetical order;
2. Word frequency in a descending order;
3. Frequency of syllables in an alphabetical order;
4. Syllabic frequency in a descending order;
5. Frequency of the phonemes in an alphabetical order;
6. Phonemic frequency in a descending order;
7. Frequency of the inflectional morphemes in an alphabetical order;
8. Morphemic frequency in a descending order.
The material was to be collected from a representive randomised sample of current literature in the language during the last fifty years. At a still later stage it was
thought desirable to have the count include differences in writing which may not be phonemic and phonemic differences which may not be represented in writing.
It is but fair to point out that many of these decisions were taken at a much later date than the working up of the material for Hindi which was the first to be
undertaken and had progressed a good deal, and hence could not be profited by them.
The actual count of Hindi was begun by Shri G. S. BANHATTI and after he left, the collection of the material was continued by Shri (now Dr.) M. L. APTE and
the work of processing the material through the punch card machine was done by Shri G. A. POTNIS. The work was carried out under the supervision of Dr. A.
M. GHATAGE and he was helped by Shri W. W. PARANJAPE and Dr. D. N. Shankar BHAT in seeing the work through the press.
It is expected that similar work which has already been completed on Gujarati (Gujarat University) and Kannada (Mysore University) may form the third and
fourth publications in the present series. The Deccan College has now been entrusted by the Ministry of Education with similar work for Oriya and Malayalam
and a great deal of progress has already been made in this direction. The work which has been started in this manner, has many fields of application not the least
of which would be connected with easier ways of reproducing the written material. Indeed at a time when photo-composition is making a headway, a more
detailed analysis of the writing systems of these languages will have to be undertaken in order to determine the frequencies of different graphemes and of
incorporating the results of this in designing suitable arrangements for such composition. For work in this direction, statistical data of a more sophisticated
character will have to be worked out on a much wider scale with special reference to the writing system. The Deccan College hopes to undertake a part of this
work with reference to Devanagari and one or two other scripts as a model which can be utilised in devising suitable typographical improvements in setting out
Indian language printing by photocomposition.
It is a matter of personal satisfaction to me to see that while the Deccan College started with investigations in basis or pure Linguistics, it is new opening up a
field of Applied Linguistics in its various aspects and bringing the results of its research to solution of urgent practical problems.
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