Stylizing voices, stances, and identities related to medium of education in India

Sandhu, P.  (2015). Stylizing voices, stances, and identities related to medium of education in India. Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, 34(2): 211–235.

This study analyzes the narrative-based interview data of three Indian women to examine the manner in which they utilize stylization to construct identity-rich, ideological stances related to discriminatory discourses of Hindi and English medium education in the linguistically rich, albeit complex, present-day context of India. Stylization is understood to be a “knowing deployment of culturally familiar styles and identities that are marked as deviating from those predictably associated with the current speaking context” (Coupland 2001a: 345). The three analyzed voices are stylized by devices such as mock Hindi medium English, Hinglish - a local combination of Hindi and English, and an exaggerated theatricality - realized through a hyperbolic manipulation of pace, volume, pitch, and laughing tones. Analysis of these diverse stylization episodes reveals that while English is typically associated with positions of power for speakers, its actual value depends on the speakers’ interactional framing. The analysis illustrates that stylized speech is variously harnessed by participants to reproduce hegemonic linguistic discourses or to enact oblique, if incomplete, critiques of them. The study is based on data collected for larger projects in which 34 Indian women were interviewed in the North Indian city of Dehradun.

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