Survival of Multilingualism in the New Economy in India

Stuart Hall, Room 104

India has remained multilingual all through its history. The political, economic, and cultural relations between the languages have changed, but multilingualism has been constant. These relations are again redrawn in the new globalized free market economy. Is India’s multilingualism endangered? This talk describes the special features of Indian multilingualism that include the grammatical fluidity, porous language borders, differential values, and distributive functions of the languages. It also points to the changes in the nature of multilingualism that are driven by macro level changes in the political and economic systems, in the goals of education, and in the beliefs of people about the languages. The talk will show how the multilingualism will survive, but will be of a different kind.