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Title: Nepali : the emergence of a national language
Author: Hutt, Michael James
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1984
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Since the thirteenth century, the Indo-Aryan language now known as Nepali has become the mother tongue of an increasingly large proportion of the population of the eastern Himalaya and is spoken throughout the highlands of Nepal and contiguous regions of India. After the political unification of Nepal in the late eighteenth century, the importance of Nepali as an integral part of Nepalese national identity grew considerably. Early in this century, it acquired the official status of the national language of Nepal. This study is concerned with the development of the Nepali language and its literature. The first part describes the linguistic diversity of Nepal in order to demonstrate the need for a lingua-franca in the region. Statistics provided by Government censuses are utilised to quantify the number of speakers of various languages and to evaluate their current status. The effect which the increasing dominance of Nepali has had upon the other languages of the country is also examined. The second part of this study describes the efforts which have been made by Nepali-speakers to standardise and promote their language as a major factor in favour of national integration, and assesses the adequacy of Nepali to perform the functions which have been prescribed for it as a national language. Particular attention is paid to the role of the language as the medium of education. The third part of the study traces the evolution of a Nepali "national literature", the existence of which is quite fundamental to the modern status of the language. The most important trends in the development of standard written Nepali are described, and illustrated by extracts ranging from the earliest known inscriptions to a variety of modern published works. Developments in Nepali literature which serve to distinguish it from the literature of other North Indian languages are identified and analysed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral