History and Changes in Progress

Pingali Sailaja

in Indian English

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780748625949
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671434 | DOI:
History and Changes in Progress

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The complex language situation in India with particular reference to English is placed in the politico-historical context of the country. The modern history of India is divided into four sections: pre-British, pre-Macaulay, pre-independence and post-independence periods. The chapter traces the intersecting trajectories of politics, history, education and language policy. The significant role played by Portuguese in paving the way for the introduction of English is described. This is followed by an account of British control over India, the language policy of the East India Company, the language debates in the three Presidencies and the various attempts at (English) education made by private individuals and missionaries. The imposition of English education in India as a result of Macaulay’s Minute, the provisions in the Constitution of India for English and subsequent amendments, and events that lead up to the final decision making are delineated. Thereafter, the significant role of English in modern India is described. From the linguistic point of view, Indian multilingualism has led to the development of pidgins and pidgin-like situations. The changes that are taking place especially in spelling, lexis and discourse features are illustrated.

Keywords: History; politics; language policy; Portuguese; East India Company; education; Constitution of India; Macaulay; pidgins

Chapter.  8740 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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