Contemporary Indian English: Variation and Change (Varieties by Andreas Sedlatschek
By Andreas Sedlatschek
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Extra resources for Contemporary Indian English: Variation and Change (Varieties of English Around the World General Series)
Pattanayak 1978: 186) As has been pointed out in the Introduction, the quality of many of the available descriptions of IndE has not improved significantly since Pattanayak 1978 made this comment. All too often, descriptive approaches to IndE structure and usage have not progressed beyond the stage of compiling lists of features that are claimed to represent varietyspecific usage patterns but lack information on their distributional properties within and across different contexts of use. Let me illustrate in reference to one concrete example from those lists, namely the use of invariant tag questions in IndE, that this is, in fact, a shortcoming.
This clearly shows that the perception of the importance of English has increased in the post-independence period and the young people see it performing new roles. (Agnihotri/Khanna 1997: 141–2) Since the beginning of the new millennium, English has been developing further along those lines in a complex network of local and global communicative needs. Today, as Sheorey 2006 observes, English seems to have become so entrenched a language and is such an integral part of India’s multilingual, urban culture that it can hardly be ignored or dislodged.
Socioculturally, it formed “the beginning of a systematic and widespread bilingual education in India throughout the nineteenth century” (Schneider 2007: 164) and encouraged the rise of an “Anglophone subculture” (Hickey 2004: 542), which, as Rahman 2002 reminds us, would eventually also turn English “into a marker of elitist schooling and the key to powerful government jobs 10. In this context, Raja Rammohan Roy’s letter to Lord Amherst, written in 1823, is frequently cited as one of the earliest examples of local Indian support for the spread of English (cf.