Analysis of some features of Indian English: a study in linguistic method
Kachru, Braj Behari
The role which the English` Language has played in India, and the impact it had on Indian languages has been the theme of many monographs and Theses. There is another aspect"of this contact of the Lanruages and Cultures; that is the influence of Indian languages and contexts on the English language in India. This aspect is interesting both as a linguistic study and as a cultural study. This is, perhaps, the first investigation in this direction, which attempts to study the English language in a language-contact situation in India taking into consideration Indian contexts too. In the hands of Indians, the English language has acquired certain characteristics at all formal levels which make it distinct .f.r om other varieties of English, whether spoken and written as primary languages or secondary languages. In this study descriptive linguistic methods have been used in order to find the Indianness of Indian English as opposed to the Englishness of English. The term "Indian English" has been used as a cover-term for the texts under discussion which are chosen from the upper point on the Cline of bi-lingualism (cf. 1.5.3. ), and could perhaps be called, alternatively, "Standard Indian English" or "Educated Indian English" for the purpose of description. By Indian English I. " do not, however, imply an ontological status equal to those varieties of English which are spoken and written as primary languages. The body of Indian English writings covered in this study is widely read by Indians as well as non-Indians, and most of the writers included here (e. g. K, A. Abbas, M. R. Anand, B. Bhattacharya, K. Narkandaya, R. K. Narayan, Raja Rao, B. Rajan, etc. ) are considered representative English writers of India. I- have extended the scope by including some "restricted languages" from Indian English newspapers and-Parliamentary Debates. This is not, however, a definitive analysis of Indian English, nor does it claim to be a complete survey of all the aspects of Indian English. I have only attempted to raise certain theorteical and procedural problems for which I have drawn illustrative material from Indian English sources. I am conscious of the limitations of this work. The difficulties involved in it have been the greater because I am a non-native speaker of En. Mlish. In this type of work a non-native speaker of English has both disadvantages and, advantages. His disadvantages are that he himself uses Indian English and 'sifting' Indian English from British English 'in,,, the source material was a major problem. All the Indian English formations were put to a test of "acceptance" or "rejection" by native speakers of English. (It was not easy because, as, we know, two native speakers do not always agree! ) He has advantages in the sense that he, as a non-native speaker, can depend on his knowledge of native contexts and, posdiblyt in a formal and contextual analysis, he is better equipped to relate formal items to the "contextual sectors".