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Old Nov 9th 2017, 10:09 pm   #1
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Default Is English a foreign language?

I work in a school ín the United States. In a class a poem by a Gujarati poet Sujatta Bhatt, was read about the conflict of having two tongues, an original and a foreign tongue. The poem is as much about culture as language.
My question. Do Indians consider Indian dialect English to be a foreign language or not?
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 8:58 am   #2
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

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Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
I work in a school ín the United States. In a class a poem by a Gujarati poet Sujatta Bhatt, was read about the conflict of having two tongues, an original and a foreign tongue. The poem is as much about culture as language.
My question. Do Indians consider Indian dialect English to be a foreign language or not?
Yes it is certainly viewed as a foreign language but is is used as an equal second language by many and the official language in some circumstances for example it is the official court language. There are TV stations, newspapers etc in English.

(Not sure what you mean by "Indian dialect English" it seems to be accurate to me).

It is a useful uniting language as the strict enforcement of State languages (documents etc.) by Nehru and making Hindi the national language were controversial. Southern States object as Hindi is a northern language. At the oath taking ceremony of a new government English can be used and is by many MPs.

English as an equal first language is used by mostly the middle classes and children taught from the beginning and sent to English 'medium' schools; it is an advantage for future jobs and travel throughout India.

Indian people have an aptitude for languages, it is often more than 'two tongues', particularly older people who used the language of areas which had their State borders changed post-independence.
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 11:12 am   #3
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

Like many things in India the answer is yes and no.
English is NOT on the list of official languages in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India, despite the whole of the Constitution and Laws of India being in English - which is also the language of the courts (with occasional, and now mildly deprecated excursions into Urdu and Latin).

AndyD 8-)

English is also used in addition to Hindi in Parliament The Official Languages Act 1963 (as amended) provides for the continuation of the use of English after the 15 year transition period envisaged in the Constitution, and indeed requires it in all officail communication between the Centre or a Hindi speaking State and any State that has not adopted Hindi.
But it's not an official language - oh no No - you can't get Citizenship (by naturalisation &c.) if the only Indian language you speak is English.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeks to change this - it proposes to amend the Constitution to make Hindi the only language for Parliament, the Courts and the drafting of laws.
imho it has negligible chance to succeed - there are huge blocks of India that simply would not accept the pre0eminence of Hindi, and the logistics of changing the Courts would be insurmountable (look at the GST roll-out - Modi et al ain't good at the Modalities!).
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 3:01 pm   #4
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

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Originally Posted by a_f_d View Post
Like many things in India the answer is yes and no.
English is NOT on the list of official languages in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India, despite the whole of the Constitution and Laws of India being in English - which is also the language of the courts (with occasional, and now mildly deprecated excursions into Urdu and Latin).

AndyD 8-)

English is also used in addition to Hindi in Parliament The Official Languages Act 1963 (as amended) provides for the continuation of the use of English after the 15 year transition period envisaged in the Constitution, and indeed requires it in all officail communication between the Centre or a Hindi speaking State and any State that has not adopted Hindi.
But it's not an official language - oh no No - you can't get Citizenship (by naturalisation &c.) if the only Indian language you speak is English.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeks to change this - it proposes to amend the Constitution to make Hindi the only language for Parliament, the Courts and the drafting of laws.
imho it has negligible chance to succeed - there are huge blocks of India that simply would not accept the pre0eminence of Hindi, and the logistics of changing the Courts would be insurmountable (look at the GST roll-out - Modi et al ain't good at the Modalities!).
It's certainly very complicated!
Example --the area just south of Goa ---North Kanara was part of the Bombay Presidency in British time. Schools taught in Marathi and English --with Hindi as an extra!
Then after independence it became part of the State then named as Karnataka and the official language became Kannada. (Athough of course the local home language was Konkani (different from Goan Konkani!).

Kannada a Dravidian language is quite difficult to learn if not brought up with it so the elderly of the area even though they may speak four languages, have to get their official legal documents etc. translated--at great expense (always mistakes --so pay again to get it corrected.)
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 4:23 pm   #5
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

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Not sure what you mean by "Indian dialect English"
You know when you are reading Indian English, for example, when I read Indian journalism and authors it is full of words such as dacoit and badmash for the bad guys; and when discussing numbers crore and lakh are used.
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 5:38 pm   #6
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

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Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
You know when you are reading Indian English, for example, when I read Indian journalism and authors it is full of words such as dacoit and badmash for the bad guys; and when discussing numbers crore and lakh are used.
I meant it is mostly grammatically correct.
They use a few different individual words, of local languages, mixed in. However these tend to be used by some journalists rather than in ordinary conversation. Also some frequently used different expressions as in 'topped the list', can be irritating to read.
Badmash is a Hindi word, used a lot in films!

The numbering system names have to be the more or less the same across all languages because of money use.

(English spoken in England has words with Hindi origin).
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 7:57 pm   #7
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

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I meant it is mostly grammatically correct.
Do you consider that a dialect is grammatically incorrect? if so, then one has to wonder what is correct, as all speakers of English speak one dialect or another.
I am sensing that you are viewing Indian English being described as a dialect as some kind of slur, which I think does not exist as then all English must carry that same insult, as every speaker of English speaks with one dialect or another. Or you feel that one English dialect is more superior to another, which I do not agree with either.

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Originally Posted by Bipat View Post
Badmash is a Hindi word, used a lot in films!
Does some sources of origin and etymology inoculate language from being a dialect? Are dialects not just the sum of all the words and grammar that other dialects may not use?

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Originally Posted by Bipat View Post
The numbering system names have to be the more or less the same across all languages because of money use.
This does surprise me as the Indian numbering system seemed to me to be the aspect of Indian English that was always used.

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Originally Posted by Bipat View Post
(English spoken in England has words with Hindi origin).
The use of words such as decko (although it seems to have gone out of fashion of late) as an example, is what helps to distinguish the British dialect from some other English dialects, like American, which never uses this word
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 8:30 pm   #8
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

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Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
1)Do you consider that a dialect is grammatically incorrect? if so, then one has to wonder what is correct, as all speakers of English speak one dialect or another.
I am sensing that you are viewing Indian English being described as a dialect as some kind of slur, which I think does not exist as then all English must carry that same insult, as every speaker of English speaks with one dialect or another. Or you feel that one English dialect is more superior to another, which I do not agree with either.


Does some sources of origin and etymology inoculate language from being a dialect? Are dialects not just the sum of all the words and grammar that other dialects may not use?


2)This does surprise me as the Indian numbering system seemed to me to be the aspect of Indian English that was always used.


3)The use of words such as decko (although it seems to have gone out of fashion of late) as an example, is what helps to distinguish the British dialect from some other English dialects, like American, which never uses this word
1) What I probably meant was that in having conversations in India I don't find difference from conversations in the UK with British people, may be I just don't notice?

2) The number of different Indian languages means that all need common wording for numbers in dealing with money, when these words are used.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_numbering_system

3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...or_Urdu_origin

Going back to your original question --the answer can be complicated, as indicated above, however ordinary people in ordinary conversation see it as a foreign language that is--not an Indian language of which there are many.
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Old Nov 10th 2017, 8:38 pm   #9
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Default Re: Is English a foreign language?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
Do you consider that a dialect is grammatically incorrect? if so, then one has to wonder what is correct, as all speakers of English speak one dialect or another.
I am sensing that you are viewing Indian English being described as a dialect as some kind of slur, which I think does not exist as then all English must carry that same insult, as every speaker of English speaks with one dialect or another. Or you feel that one English dialect is more superior to another, which I do not agree with either.


Does some sources of origin and etymology inoculate language from being a dialect? Are dialects not just the sum of all the words and grammar that other dialects may not use?


This does surprise me as the Indian numbering system seemed to me to be the aspect of Indian English that was always used.


The use of words such as decko (although it seems to have gone out of fashion of late) as an example, is what helps to distinguish the British dialect from some other English dialects, like American, which never uses this word
It is an interesting subject what constitutes a dialect, a language, and just a form of language based on regional variation. Certainly Australian English I wouldn't think doesn't rises to the status of a Dialect of English, but would American ? I am unsure how much Indian English would qualify in terms of grammar/pronunciation/vocabulary as a separate dialect.

The Merriam Webster definition of dialect :

"...a regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting together with them a single language..."

Would Indian English be different enough in grammar and vocabulary to be considered a dialect ?

Geordie, and also what my uncles spoke, Pitmatic, I would think classify as dialects, while Scots I would say another, but related language (though reading Scots I think not that difficult for someone who has had a good education). Lots of confusion in this area, for example Sicilian certainly a separate language rather than a dialect of Italian.
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