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English in India - Essay Example

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Today the world is characterized by the process of globalization, which increases linguistic and social homogeneity in the representation of literacy and expertise. This tendency brings to the foreground the rising issues of inequality in many aspects: for example, the situation with English in India is rather complicated.
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English in India
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"English in India"

Download file to see previous pages In India the struggle between the local and the global is really of current importance, it is an illustrative example of the development of English in postcolonial period. It might be even so, that local language practices, discourses, and values will be swallowed up by the sweeping economic and political forces brought about by globalization.
In his recent work, Bhatt argues that these dichotomies of standard and nonstandard English have resulted in many class differences within India, and that the richer classes in India use Standard English to maintain their hegemony over the lower classes, who speak a local variety. By using these dichotomies, Bhatt argues, Indian elites are reinforcing the biased expert discourses that sustain the hegemony of Standard English worldwide (Bhatt 59-63).
According to Kachru, questions about language go beyond linguistics; these are connected with the problems of power, history, sociology, politics and economics. The most important reason for the success of English is, naturally the historical role of England as a colonial power. In India, for example, the political power naturally attributed a power to the language (the linguistic elitism strategy was typical for the times of colonization).
English has been with India since the early 1600's, and by the early 1800's a large number of English schools were set up. English became the official and academic language of India by the early twentieth century. In the 1920's the nationalist movement rose, bringing some anti-English sentiment with it (even though the movement itself used English as its medium). Independence was gained, and together with it, the perception of English as having an alien power base changed. English came to be the language of the legal system, higher education, administrative network, science and technology, trade and commerce. At that time, the use of English was considered prestigious and powerful, moreover, the indigenous languages were not equipped for these roles and English provided for a convenient vocabulary (Kachru:127-136).
However, more recent researches, as that of Annika Hohenthal, which studies the attitudes of Indians towards English by means of the experiment with informants, show that English has become more natural in the Indian environment: nowadays, English represents the domains of education and employment, scientific knowledge, modernization and development, as well as more personal domains, such as the family and friendship.
Indians themselves understand that because of linguistic and cultural reasons Indian English is naturally different from the British standard variety of English, it is as a variety of its own. Although English is clearly perceived as a more useful language to know, at the same time, people identify themselves more easily with Hindi, only a rather small proportion identified themselves with British and Anglo-American culture. Most of the informants would like the use of Hindi to be encouraged in India, as well as they would like to see it as the official language also in future.
Another important tendency: virtually all the informants were sure that their children should learn English at school. This fact ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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