Sumana Bandhyopadhay: “Indianisation of English”

 I draw the attention of those interested in Indian English, Indian literature in English and sociolinguistics to the following book, just published:

 

Sumana Bandhyopadhay, Indianisation of English: Analysis of Linguistic Features in Selected Post-1980 Indian English Fiction, New Delhi (India): Concept Publishing Company, 2010

ISBN 13-9788180697036

Hardback, xl + 184 pp.

 

(with foreword by Christopher Rollason)

 

Summary of book:

 

**

 

This study by Sumana Bandyopadhyay is a significant new contribution to the understanding of both Indian English and IWE (Indian Writing in English) in today’ss evolving context. The author brings together diverse strands of both linguistic and literary scholarship, laying particular stress on how Indian English has adapted to homegrown realities while remaining a major variant of a world language. The basic position that both underlies and emerges from this study is that there is an Indian standard English which is a variety of International Standard English.

 

This is a corpus-based analysis, and the various aspects of Indian English discussed are illustrated with examples drawn from some of the best-known living practitioners of IWE. The time-span chosen is essentially the period opened up in 1981 by Salman Rushdie’s epoch-making  Midnight’s Children. Thus, the works of the preceding IWE generation, as represented by the triad of Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan, are not included in the corpus as such. The writers chosen, eight in number, are (male): Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra, Rohinton Mistry, Amitav Ghosh, Upamanyu Chatterjee and (female): Manju Kapur and Arundhati Roy.

 

The corpus analysis takes in aspects of Indian English on the phonological, lexical, functional and structural levels. The phonological aspect is examined with the help of Rohinton Mistry’s novel Such a Long Journey: it is shown how Mistry’s text phonetically represents Indian phonological variants. Fictional conversations excerpted from the same novel are also employed to exemplify Indian English intonation patterns. On the lexical level, the stress is on Indianisation of vocabulary (direct imports of words from Indian languages, hybrid compounds, loan-translations, etc). Of particular interest here is the author’s comprehensive and carefully-worked glossary of Indian lexical items in Seth’s A Suitable Boy. The discussion of functional aspects prioritises such factors as the frequency of repetition in Indian English, and the creative coinage of expressions (with a useful glance at Arundhati Roy), in an analysis drawing on sociolinguistics and pragmatics.

 

Sumana Bandyopadhyay concludes her study by stressing, with the above examples behind her, the vital and dynamic Indianness of today’s Indian English as handled by IWE writers. All in all, this volume may be welcomed as part of the process of opening up new paths for research in a linguistic and cultural area which will increasingly be of concern to scholars in the humanities, both in India and in the new globalised universe. 

 

 

**The full text of the foreword can be found on my Yatra site at:

http://yatrarollason.info/files/Sumana.pdf

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