Hindi and the Question of Comprehensibility

Shobna Nijhawan

in Women and Girls in the Hindi Public Sphere

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780198074076
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080922 | DOI:
Hindi and the Question of Comprehensibility

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This chapter discusses how women’s periodicals contributed to debates over Hindi as a national language and literature and analyses the language used in women’s periodicals. It is organized chronologically and thematically around the Hindi movement. Many writings in women’s periodicals rejected the mainstream Hindi nationalist agenda of standardized and Sanskritized Hindi. Instead, they chose to publish in a language that came close to the lingua franca of the targeted audiences and which nevertheless claimed the status of a national language. Moreover, writers who were not always native speakers of a Hindi dialect retained the flexibility of Hindi and created a language different to the one envisioned by the Hindi literati. Therefore, Hindi women’s periodicals were vital not only in shaping and creating political discourse on women and society but also envisioned the creation of modern Hindi as a national language and the language of the people.

Keywords: women’s periodicals; Hindi language; national language; mainstream Hindi; standardized Hindi; Sanskritized Hindi; Hindi movement; Hindi literati

Chapter.  17899 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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