What Is A Language Without Variety?

2642 words - 11 pages

Over the course of the past 10 to 15 years and, even long before that, the English language has experienced a monumental degree of change. We can attribute much of this change to its gradual globalization and standardization over time. Although many have attributed its globalization primarily to British colonial conquest—even though it may be true in some sense—the English language has established itself also as a Lingua Franca to be used to cross socioeconomic and even cultural boundaries. This has made the language extremely appealing to non-traditional English speakers (i.e. those who do not use the language as a primary means of communication). Its spread is due largely to the fact that many non-traditional speakers now use it as a second language. This spread, consequentially, has produced a diverse variety of blended or hybrid languages which non-native speakers use to communicate amongst each other, but—more importantly—with the native English speaking community. Such varieties include Chinglish, Nigerian English, Trinidadian English, and Hinglish (or Indian English). This essay, however, will focus only on Hinglish. It will attempt to provide an image of who uses this hybrid English, how it is used, how it developed, how it differentiates from Standard American English (SAE), and finally what kind of reputation it has in the world.
As the Western world began to spread its influence on the rest of the planet, its language found its way into the most unlikely hands. Foreign countries, like India, (i.e. populations of non-native English speakers) began to accept the English language as an attempt to communicate with the native-speaking population and amongst themselves. The need to speak the language amongst them arose from the fact that India had over 14 official languages and approximately 1600 different dialects (Harris). Among these dialects, two were spoken prominently: Persianised Urdu and Sancritised Hindi. However, wide regional variations of Hindi led to the inability of people to communicate amongst themselves. Many could not even read the Indian constitution. Also, the technological advancements that came with film and more satellite television caused an even greater blur of regional linguistic distinctions (Harris). As a result of this and the inability of the Indian government to foster legitimate English, the rise of English as a Lingua Franca fostered the formation of Hinglish (i.e. English spoken by Hindi speakers) (Ladousa 463).
Hinglish (or Indian English) is the Indian version, or their interpretation, of English; it is a third world language (Kachru 222). Another definition of Hinglish, according to the Collins English Dictionary is the fusion of Hindi and English words into common English (Garner). It is somewhat of a strange amalgamation between formal and casual. Although it is a language that echoes a more polite and formal age, it is the language of another time. “It’s as if it exists in a time capsule” (Morris)....

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