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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Academic Paper


Title: Bangla: A geneaological fantasy
Paper URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2061334
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://isid.academia.edu/DebaprasadBandyopadhyay
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Genetic Classification; Linguistic Theories; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Bengali
Abstract: This paper is a Bangla translation/elaborated version of the two English papers: Abstract ID: 2024842, and abstract ID: 2015951. The India census reports since 1871 were put to show the lacunas of statistical survey techniques that helped to construct genealogical fantasy and nation statist boundary. Secondly, the tensed relationship between Laksminath BejBarua, an Asamiya writer, and Rabindranth Tagore was shown to understand the impact of extra-linguistic variables at the moment of a birth of nation in the context of colonialism. Thirdly, the role of print capitalism was depicted through the abstract ID: 2015951 endeavor of Fakirmohan Senapati, an Odia writer, by analyzing the discourse of his biography. Otherwise the abstract of this Bangla paper is as same as Abstract ID: 2024842.

All the linguistic movements in colonial India lead to the demand/desire for autonomy in different spheres and were linked with anti-imperialistic nationalist movement, though on the contrary, all these movements had become the mirror image of dominant others’ nation statist mimic imagination. In this way, there was a demand for “autonomous” and “pure” tool indigenous grammar (free from “adulteration”) of a well-defined enumerated and “pure” language which is selected centrally as a standard language. Therefore language-managers of a given community did two things: a) they, as a member of imagined community, defined the language boundary (i.e. selection of standard and extension of the standard language from centre to periphery) and b) managed that language with the help of a tool called grammar.

In this paper, the author tries to show the Bengalee intellectuals’ (language judge/-police/-managers) perspectives (19th. C. and the first three decades of the 20th C) on the issue of autonomy of two neighbouring languages, viz. Oriya and Asamiya, two neighboring languages of Bangla. The paper shows a classical centre-periphery relation, where Bengal as a centre, wanted to subsume the periphery through hegemonic selving in course of standardizing and extending the political geography of Bangla with the supposed language module. The situation shows dialectic of hegemonic inclusion, which creates internal colonization, and thus captive languages with a feeling of derivative nationalism were trying to combat external colonization as well. These cases in the colonial period and at the time of the birth of a new nation states might help us to apprehend the post-colonial withdrawal syndrome from the other defeated varieties (i.e., so called “dialects”).
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: 2006. “baNlar khoabnama” SOtobOrser aloke bONgo bhONgo, Kolkata: Pustak Bipani. (pp. 426- 447). First published in 2005.Chattopadhyay, D. ed. parikatha. VII:2 (pp. 320-40)
URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2061334


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