Language is a typically human phenomenon. In moving from the 'natural being' of animal existence to the 'cultural being' of human existence, language plays the decisive role. Language gives a sense of identity to an individual as well as a social group and, in the process, creates multiple identities. The maintenance, merger, clash and change in identities based on and reflected in the language change has prompted linguists, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists to study language in its multifarious dimensions. Since economic and societal planning have to, of necessity, take into account the context of planning, there is no wonder that worldwide attention has been drawn towards language planning. Language is an asset and a primary instrument of human communication. However, language can become a problem and a barrier to communication, sometimes symbolically so, under conditions of multiplicity of ethnic groups, languages, dialects, styles, registers and scripts. These conditions may lead to one or more of the following situations which necessitate language planning : (i) Mutually unintelligible language, dialects or scripts competing for supremacy of dominance (ii) Mutually intelligible languages, dialects or scripts,
(a) threatening mutual identity,
(b) with mutually unfavorable attitudes.
(iii) Existence of diglossia, triglossia or multiglossia.
(iv) Existence of languages with dominant/minority relationship with a national frontier. (v) Social variables correlating with language use and creating communication zones. (vi) Official action in recognising official languages, distributing patronages for development of languages which may even have the remote implication of displacing or disturbing in reality or symbolically, the existing domains of language use. (vii) Language used by the politicised elite to retain their elitist privileges by restricting language use in education, administration and mass media. There is an urgent need for serious attention to language planning in a country like India. The following examples are illustrative of situations which demand the attention of educationists and planners to the crucial importance of language in society. 1. Sometime back, the Physics Department of the Aligarh University administered a standardised creativity test to the high achievers of the University. To their great surprise they found the result absolutely erratic. After hurried consultations among the scientists involved, it was decided to translate the test into Hindi---Urdu, the mother tongue of the students taking the test. It is only then that the test yielded the expected standard result2. 2. A very significant programme, the preparation of a Bridge Course in Kannada, was undertaken by the Central Institute of Indian Languages some years back. From experience and observation the Institute came to a few conclusions: 1. Language teaching, particularly that of teaching the mother tongue in the Indian schools, is defective 2. What is taught in the name of language is literature.
3. The teaching of literature is restricted to the teaching of ancient and medieval literature and seldom touches the contemporary.
4. Even in literature, more emphasis is given to teaching about literature than really teaching literary sensibility and critical judgment. 5. No attention is paid to the teaching of different registers. 6. As a result, there is a gap between the language attainment at the end of the school stage and the language requirement at the beginning of the college stage, particularly when taught through the mother tongue medium. As a result of this, the students cannot cope with their college studies. Some 900 students selected from three Universities of Karnataka were given a pre-test. A hundred-hour Bridge Course developed by the Institute was offered to an experimental group of about 400 students and a post-test...