[lg policy] call: English(es) and Cultural Identities in South Asia: India and Sri Lanka

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 12 15:13:06 UTC 2012

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 reglangpolgooglemail.com until June 30. The
number of participants is limited to 30.

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.

D’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.


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