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Language Diversity Reflection

ckenward's picture

So sorry this is a bit late!


For our presentation on Language Diversity I was primarily responsible for setting a background of conflicts and relevance of language diversity.  While I was looking for sources on language diversity in Ghana I was continually reminded of some of my experiences in India.  Especially around the issue of English and having a Ghanaian identity imposed on English.  India was also colonized by the British and while they gained independence before Ghana (about ten years earlier) the British influence, including the use of English as a national language, is really prevelant.  Language in general shares a lot of similarities between the two countries; both use English as the primary language in their education system while having a myriad of native languages.  While I was in Delhi (where they primarily speak Hindi and English) I found myself often using and being confronted by "Hinglish."  For example, instead of using Hindi numbers people often used English numbers because linguistically they make more sense.  However, some numbers were always said in Hindi (1, 5, 20, 30) which I think is one way Indian identity was imposed on English.  

Language has been a subject of real interest to me since coming to Bryn Mawr and I really enjoyed doing a presentation on language diversity.  For me, language reveals so much about a culture and what it values.  Language informs so much of how we think about different issues without even realizing it!


alesnick's picture

Changing English

Your observation of parallels betwen Indian and Ghanaian language diversity makes me wonder how the frame on this in the US conditions Americans' beliefs about English and how we perceive its use in other parts of the world.  The drive to hybridize Engish with other languages is in fact essential to its history from the beginning, right?  What can we see when we consider this the rule, not the exception?