Rise and Decline of Languages: Struggle for Existence


Author: T.Sai Chandra Mouli (Osmania University, India)
Speaker: T.Sai Chandra Mouli
Topic: Language Contact and Change
CALA 2020 General Session


Abstract

Shifts in language presence are often predicated on the political and economic power of its users, where power level correlates with the longevity of the language. Further, during language contact, any resistance between the communities may lead to political and social conflict. The dominant language usually prevails, subjugating the weaker speech communities to the point where they adapt in various ways, processes which effect hegemonies. Language contact also motivates bilingualism, which crystallises over years.

This paper suggests that, aligning with Colonization through certain Asian countries, more so India, phonological influences have become conspicuous. Postcolonial contexts have selected language identities to assert local, linguistic and sociocultural identities through specifying certain phonetic uniqueness. The study notes that economic trends alter this process, as do political factors. The study investigates how the role of English as an official language and lingua franca in India predicates the selection of certain phonetic patterns to legitimize identities of language communities. As such, Indian Englishes have developed their own unique varieties of language, through this process.

Keywords: language, contact, conflict, lingua franca, multilingualism.