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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: When English replaced Persian: Relinquishing an 'entangle' linguistic legacy
Paper URL:
Author: Alok Kumar Das
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Singhania University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: When English was first made the official language of India in 1835, replacing Persian, it was viewed as an act of British dominance and forcible imposition of an alien culture and language on the natives. The motives may not have been otherwise, but the outcome were drastic and exemplary in positively transforming the linguistic landscape of India. The very introduction of English language replaced with it the age-old stranglehold of sectarian and autocratic nature of linguistic legacy of the preceding Muslim rules. Sociopragmatic changes brought in by English language is what we intend to examine here. /L//L/Development of English language in India is in effect a course which introduced multilingualism and strengthened further the inherent linguistic diversity of the country. In contrary to the notion of 'strategy of discursive appropriation', English language enriched the native languages with the import of western knowledge of science, philosophy and literature, and gave voice to languages which were earlier languishing within respective geographic and regional boundaries. English functioned "as the main agent for releasing the South Asian languages from the rigorous constraints of the classical literary traditions" (Kachru 1994). /L//L/To presume an India without English is a good supposition today to assess its significance not only in contributing to the making of a modern nation but also in finding the mutual suitability of the language in question and the country. Dismissing these aspects under allegations of Anglicism is easy, but it is difficult to deny that English came as a much needed language of lingua franca and larger communication in a country which presumably was in the need of walking out of the years of subservient linguistic policies, if at all any, and needed a language which did not carry with it a religious baggage.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: The Second Late Modern English International Conference (LMEC2), University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain, 25–27 November 2004.
Publication Info: Language Forum, Vol. 35, No. 1, Jan-June 2009 (Forthcoming Issue)
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