ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Of Sounds, Words and Sentences

The dynamics of sounds, words and sentences embellish our language. Recursion and structure dependency along with various other factors affect our language. The article goes into the nitty-gritties of the uniqueness of language, adding new words to language and its usage.

Politics of Populism

Populism in very general terms could be defined in terms of a demagogue choosing to play to the gallery. Such a demagogue selectively tells people what they want to hear. In populism, the communication assumes a skewed form where a political leader needs to speak to the people who, in turn, need to...

Learning and Language

In low-cost private schools in India, English as a medium of instruction attracts children of poorly educated parents with a low-income background. A primary survey in Delhi and the National Capital Region finds that mediating primary-level education through an unfamiliar language poses language barriers and adversely affects the learning outcome. The agency in using English for communication is limited. The learning deficit is undetected through successive grades in the primary level due to translation- and memorisation-based teaching processes, and focus on textbook-based exercises. The study finds that parents do not get a fair exchange in return for committing their limited resources towards education.

Examining the Linguistic Dimension of Draft National Education Policy, 2019

The Kasturirangan Committee’s framing of the draft National Education Policy, 2019 seems to be rather ill-informed linguistically. Despite its politically correct rhetoric, most of its recommendations are linguistically unsound and simply unpractical.

Language and Translation in a Multilingual Nation

A Multilingual Nation: Translation and Language Dynamic in India edited by Rita Kothari, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp VII + 365, ₹1,495.

What Are the Implications of the English-language Education Policy of the Andhra Pradesh Government?

Led by the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party government, Andhra Pradesh has recently announced its decision to offer English as the medium of instruction in government-run schools across the state. While supporters of the move hail it as a landmark decision to correct the historical injustice meted out to the marginalised, critics fear the potential threat to Telugu language and culture.

Examining the Draft National Education Policy, 2019

This paper on the draft National Education Policy 2019, examines its timeframe and the possible implications of its implementation in terms of the overlapping categories of gender, caste, and class identities. It also focuses briefly on issues of language and the way in which historical precedents are invoked. This is followed by a discussion on the wide-ranging changes envisaged in higher education. I suggest that the document needs far greater scrutiny than it has received so far, and that a hasty implementation will have grave consequences, diluting if not reversing the serious and painstaking attempts that have been made to democratise the contexts, and contents of education for decades.

How is Multilingual Freelance Journalism Transforming the Media Landscape in India?

Changes in the technological landscape and the political economy of news media have opened up new spaces for freelance journalism, particularly in multilingual spaces. Freelance journalists occupy a precarious position due to their place within neo-liberal logics, but at the same time, are less beholden to many of the political, social, and commercial pressures constraining reporting and editing in big media houses. Biographical sketches of three Chennai-based freelancers demonstrate different possibilities of engaging as a freelancer across languages.

Let’s Not Call Things ‘Crazy’: Language and Portrayal of Mental Illness

Neurodiversity holds that atypical neural configurations of certain mental conditions are too diverse to be collectively "othered" as abnormal. The antecedents of neurodiversity are addressed in this article by understanding media representations of neuroatypicality and how words construct our perceptions regarding the mentally ill. This evolution, partly due to a climate of political correctness, is apparent when comparing the language of the Lunacy Act (1858) with the Mental Health Care Act (2017).

Breaking the Chaturvarna System of Languages

The Indian language policy is informed by a pull towards unilingual identity, inspired by the European model of nation state that is predicated on the homogeneity of its people. Language hegemony works at two tiers in India—at the state and the centre. The Constitution fails to pay more than lip service to the linguistic plurality and multilingual ethos of the peoples of India and has created a chaturvarna (four-tier order) of languages, with Sanskrit, Hindi, the scheduled, and the non-scheduled languages occupying various rungs of the ladder. English—the language of the conquerors—being outside the chaturvarna system has emancipatory potential.

Style as ‘Alternative Normativity’

Doing Style: Youth and Mass Mediation in South India by Constantine V Nakassis; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016; pp 352, ₹ 1,656.

Caste in a Casteless Language?

This paper focuses on a new archive of dalit writing in English translation. The "archive" has a forced homogeneity imposed by the term "dalit", which embraces an urban middle-class dalit and a member of a scavenger caste; the homogeneity is consolidated by the fact that the translated texts are in an international language. The questions asked concern the relationship between caste and the English language, two phenomena that represent considerably antithetical signs. Dalit writers accept English as a target language, despite the fact that local realities and registers of caste are difficult to couch in a language that has no memory of caste. The discussion shows how English promises to dalit writers (as both individuals and representatives of communities) agency, articulation, recognition and justice. The paper draws attention to the multiplicity of contexts that make writing by dalits part of a literary public sphere in India, and contribute to our thinking about caste issues in the context of human rights.

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