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Academic Paper


Title: The Myth of National Language
Paper URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2018439
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: https://independent.academia.edu/DebaprasadBandyopadhyay
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: All the dichotomous concepts of “High” and “Low” languages reflect the “center-periphery” relation and constitute “otherness” in a form of either external or internal colonialism. The same thing, the problem of logistics, also happens in case of selecting a variety or few varieties as national language/s by captivating and defeating other varieties which are equally potential enough from the strict core-linguistic perspective. It is redundant to say that all the selection of codes are instigated by some non-linguistic factors. Keeping in mind such non-linguistic determining forces in attesting “prestige” of language, in this paper, author examined the discourse on National Language as it is found in India. In independent India, depending on the Eurocentric “development and growth” of certain languages via print capitalism, some “privileged” languages of same (imagined) communities are selected as “national languages” ignoring the plurality of Indian grass-root multilingualism. The Indian Constitution incorporated some enumerated and solidified languages, which are included in the eighth schedule of the constitution. Apart from this there are some languages which are not acknowledged by the Indian constitution, Sahitya Akademy, National Literacy Mission or media. The outcasts from the list, from time to time, have protested against their exclusion. They are feeling deprived as they do not have the “national identity.” The question arises here that these groups who are not part of any list, are they not “nationality”? Answering this type of question leads us to the domain of identity crisis of many groups with their non-prestigious languages. This type of identity crisis is not too old as it is colonially derived in a modular form at the time of the British Raj. Quite contrary to the pluralistic as well as multilingual language planning policy prescribed by the Indian linguists monistic myths are created to impose one language for the Indian nation. This section highlights these myths. These myths are like rumours and are spread by manipulating our age-old oral tradition as well as modern advertisement techniques. It also reveals the paradoxical and simultaneous existence of de jure code and de facto imagination of the mass.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress
Venue: Symposium on National Language Policy in India, 1996
Publication Info: Frontier, Vol. 32, No. 28, pp. 4-7, 2003
URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2018439


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