Linguistic variation in Indian English : a sociolinguistic study.
The present study responds to the longstanding need within
the field of applied sociolinguistics for a better understanding of
L2 variability. The study is concerned with the nature of
phonological variation in the use of English by Indians. It is an
attempt to use sociolinguistic methodology In examInIng a second
language situation and to investigate:
1. Whether L2 variability is conditioned by linguistic constraints,
2. Whether there is any social significance associated with L2
The study is based on the data collected from 44 educated speakers
of English in Aligarh (North India). The data was analysed by means
of a variety of statistical and computer based programmes. Forty five
minutes long interview was conducted by means of a questionnaire. The
tasks, ranging from the informal to the most formal, were: (i) casual
speech, (ii) short responses or interview style, (iii) reading passage
and sentences, and (iv) reading minimal paIrs.
There was, of course, no way to eliminate completely the influence
of the interview situation, which generally causes speech to be more
formal than casual. However, a number of techniques were used to
enable the informants to relax and speak more casually.
The first chapter deals with the socio-cultural and historical
aspect of English in India. The second chapter looks at various
theoretical approaches to the study of linguistic variability. The third
chapter discusses the research methodology adopted for the present
study. The fourth chapter examines the linguistic variants in
different phonolog'ical environments and confirms our hypothesis that
linguistic variation in second language IS systematic at the level of
both the individual and the group.
In the fifth chapter phonological variables have been analysed in relation to social
demographic variables, such as schooling, education, age, sex and
social class. The analysis in the sixth chapter deals with stylistic
variation and shows a wide variation in different styles of speech.
The seventh chapter very briefly examines intelligibility of
Indian English and suggests that a change is probably taking place
in Indian English due to social and political pressures within the
country, particularly affecting younger generation.
The last chapter begins with a brief discussion of the major
findings and their social and linguistic implications and suggests
ways in which the insights gained from the study can be utilised
in the teaching of English as a second language.