LINGUIST List 23.2687

Mon Jun 11 2012

Confs: Sociolinguistics/Germany

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 11-Jun-2012
From: Tobias Bernaisch <>
Subject: English(es) and Cultural Identities in South Asia: India and Sri Lanka
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English(es) and Cultural Identities in South Asia: India and Sri Lanka

Date: 13-Jul-2012 - 13-Jul-2012 Location: Giessen, Germany Contact: Tobias Bernaisch Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Meeting Description:

Registration for participation:Please send an email to until June 30. The number of participants is limited to 30.

Speakers:Tobias Bernaisch (JLU Giessen, Germany), Robert Fuchs (Uni Muenster, Germany), Sandarenu Kumarasamy (Uni Duisburg-Essen, Germany), Claudia Lange (JLU Giessen, Germany), Dushyanthi Mendis (Uni Colombo, Sri Lanka) & Lina Mukhopadhyay (EFLU Hyderabad, India).

Workshop abstract:Edgar Schneider’s Dynamic Model of the Evolution of Postcolonial Englishes (PCEs) (Schneider 2007) has accorded the notion of identity centre stage for the emergence of new autonomous varieties of English in former postcolonial contexts: it is speakers’ ‘identity rewritings’, their collective process of negotiating, their relationship to the former colonizers and their language which drives the evolution of PCEs. To put it differently: the decisive factor in recognizing a PCE as an innovative variety in its own right rather than as a ‘deviant’ form of British English is decidedly sociocultural and not linguistic and is predicated on speakers’ cultural self-reliance. Consequently, language attitudes, language policies and language ideologies become an intrinsic part of the study of PCEs and their development.

In this respect, South Asia and South Asian varieties of English provide a particularly rich field for study. In India and Sri Lanka, local varieties of English are an institutionalized, but not uncontested part of the two countries’ linguistic ecologies. Both varieties move towards their establishment as autonomous varieties, but again not without resistance from within the speech community itself. Of particular interest is the internal dynamics of convergence vs. divergence between Indian and Sri Lankan English and the concomitant language policies and ideologies. South Asia has on the one hand long been recognized as a Sprachbundarea, and there is also evidence for a shared pan-South Asian ‘grammar of culture’ (D’Souza 1991). On the other hand, discourses of linguistic nationalism are apparent in the controversy over the ‘English as a life skill’ programme, Sri Lanka’s English language teaching programme developed and implemented by an Indian university.This workshop will focus on language policies, language attitudes and language ideologies with special reference to English in India and Sri Lanka from both a comparative and contrastive perspective. It includes speakers from India and Sri Lanka who have long been involved in their countries' English curriculum development and are thus able to provide firsthand expertise of recent directions in language and educational policies in their respective countries. Thus, the workshop seeks to establish the frame of reference for further studies which are concerned with the interdependence of language and cultural identity in South Asia.

ReferencesD’Souza, Jean (1991). ‘Echoes in a Sociolinguistic Area’. Language Sciences 13, 289-299.Schneider, Edgar W. (2007). Postcolonial English. Varieties around the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Page Updated: 11-Jun-2012