A work on the Geographical Distribution of the principal language of India, and the feasibility of introducing English as a common language, by the Hon. Sir Erskine Perry, late President ol the Supreme Court at Bombay, who has returned to England, alter a sojourn in India, of twelve years, has been lately issued in London. He is a profound Orientalist and a European scholar, and has visited the various nations he describes ; his views, moreover, are those of a statesman. India, through its whole extent, as now measured by geographers, contains in its computed population ol a hundred and forty millions, at least as many languages and nationalities as Europe. According to Sir Erskine. there are two great classes, the northern and southern; the first consists ol seven tongues and ten dialects; and the second of six languages without any dialects. The origin of each is curious and historically instructive. But the most remarkable portion of the essay, is the inquiry, whether the common medium oi intercourse amongst the educated minds of India, cannot be accomplishedand the English be rendered that medium. The author argues in the affirmative, with full knowledge and confidence, and the time may yet arrive when the English will be the common language of all America, Australia, the Isles ol the Pacific, and the whole East Indies.
This article was originally published with the title "Languages of India" in Scientific American 8, 40, 320 (June 1853)