The present work attempts to identify spatial patterns for the extent and nature of language shifts among the tribal population in India. It provides social, economic and political dimensions of changing linguistic identity.
Based on both secondary and primary data, some of the socio-economic variables have been statistically tested through Correlation and Regression to determine the relationship with language shifts. The impact of urbanisation and regional development on the linguistic behaviour of the tribal population has been analysed.
The study rejects the claim that language shift indicates the process of integration--rather it shows the process of assimilation of the tribal people into the majority culture group. In fact, language shifts among these societies have been perceived more often as social compulsions.
The study emphasises the need of promoting and preserve the tribal languages as these are the cultural heritage of India. The study may provide a basis to understand the dynamics of language shift--as it might have implications of language planning in multilingual societies like India.