[lg policy] dissertation: Identities in Transition: Changing Language Roles in the Kashmiri Speech Community

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 16 14:36:59 UTC 2011

Identities in Transition: Changing Language Roles in the Kashmiri
Speech Community

Institution: Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Program: Ph.D. in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Mohd Ashraf Bhat

Dissertation Title: Identities in Transition: Changing Language Roles in the
Kashmiri Speech Community

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director(s):
Arun Kumar Sharma
T. Ravichandran
Sadaf Munshi
Rakesh Mohan Bhatt

Dissertation Abstract:

Among the repertoire of identities, linguistic identity is the most overtly
observable phenomenon by which various identifications like geographical
background, social origin, level of education, gender, intelligence, ethnicity,
age, and affability are positioned and articulated. As noted by Le Page and
Tabouret-Keller, every speech act is perceived as an 'act of identity' and a
single phonemic feature may be sufficient to include or exclude somebody
from any social group. Accordingly, this research primarily aims at
investigating the linguistic assertions of community identities in the
multilingual context of the Kashmiri speech community by essentially
focussing on the dimensions of changing language roles and linguistic
practices. It employs triangulation of quantitative and qualitative
methodologies and multiple sources of data, which provide any space for
the assertion of linguistic identities implicitly or explicitly. The
data collected
for the study explicates that among the crucial factors, script uncertainty,
interlingual diglossia, the state language policies, collective attitudes,
separatist movement, intergenerational transmission, attrition, and literary,
religious and media discourses are significantly accountable for reshaping
and changing the language roles, and subsequently, resulting in the
transition of linguistic identities. This study illustrates how instrumental
orientation and integrative motivation are engaged for Urdu in terms of
prestige, identity, mobility, and advancement; while for English, the
acceptability is largely instrumental in nature, and for Kashmiri, it is merely
that of symbolic reification. Within this framework, the study measures the
nature and the extent of the language attrition of Kashmiri among the non-
pathological population. It finally demonstrates that the attrition,loss, shift
and changing of language roles are principally motivated by various
linguistic and extra-linguistic factors, which may remarkably lead to the
demise of the distinct symbol and the last roots of Kashmiryat - the Kashmiri
linguistic-cultural identity, in favour of the nonnative code, Urdu, which might
emerge as the primary linguistic identity in the near future.


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