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Defining the Indefinable: Delimiting Hindi


Edited By Agnieszka Kucziewicz-Fras

The nine extensive essays of this volume are by specialists on South Asia whose research focus includes the extremely complicated problematics of the linguistic situation there. It is devoted to the broadly understood problem of defining Hindi as well as indicating the different ranges of its use. The authors of the included texts come from Europe, the USA and India, and grapple with questions such as what Hindi is, how it functions in the social, political and cultural dimensions of present-day India, and how it is being used by authorities and various influential actors at different levels of Indian reality. The volume should be important and useful for all those who are interested in Hindi, its official and non-official status, and in Indian linguistic policy and politics generally.
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A Mixed Language? Hinglish and Business Hindi Agnieszka Kuczkiewicz-Fraś and Dagmara Gil


Agnieszka Kuczkiewicz-Fraś and Dagmara Gil

There is hardly a language which in one sense may not be called a mixed language. No nation or tribe was ever so completely isolated as not to admit the importation of a certain number of foreign words. In some instances these imported words have changed the whole native aspect of the language, and have even acquired a majority over the native element. (MÜLLER 1866: 79)

This opinion, formulated by Friedrich Max Müller about two decades before Hugo Schuchardt and Dirk Christiaan Hesseling produced their path-breaking works on mixed languages,1 still remains an axiom placed at the core of sociolinguists’ concern with both languages in contact, and contact languages—even though, over all those years, mixed languages as understood by the German Orientalist have become clearly discerned from the “mixed languages” narrowly defined, most commonly, as languages “whose structures show an etymological split that is not marginal, but dominant, so that it is difficult to define the variety’s linguistic parentage as involving just one ancestor language,” such a “mixed language” thus forming “a bilingual mixture, with split ancestry” (MATRAS/BAKKER 2003b: 1).2 In other words, “the result of the fusion of two identifiable source languages, normally in situations of community bilingualism” (MEAKINS 2013: 157) is mixed to the extent “that their genetic affiliation cannot be ascribed to just one particular lineage (…), while the absence of simplification processes as part of their genesis makes them distinct from pidgins and...

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