Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 5 May 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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Dilemma of Usage and Transmission -
A Sociolinguistic Investigation of Dhundi-Pahari in Pakistan

Muhammad Gulfraz Abbasi, M. A., Ph.D. Candidate
Saiqa Imtiaz Asif, Ph.D.


Dhundi-Pahari, commonly known as Pahari, is an indigenous language of the people of Murree and its adjacent areas in Pakistan. It, being a minority and regional language has the same kind of threat from Urdu and English as is evident in the case of other minority languages of the world vis-à-vis powerful languages.

There is a growing reduction in the transmission of Dhundi-Pahari to the coming generations. Even the family domain which is supposed to be the last powerful citadel of language is being under tremendous pressure.

In order to judge this phenomenon, a sociolinguistic study was conducted and through open ended interviews, it was found out that not only was Dhundi-Pahari threatened but also the attitudes of the indigenous speakers were diverted to other powerful languages like Urdu and English. Transmission of Dhundi-Pahari to their children seems to have become their least priority.

The present study concludes that serious efforts are needed to enliven Dhundi-Pahari language and motivate the indigenous population to adopt their native language as a cultural asset for them. (The paper is partially based on a section of my Ph.D. thesis and is submitted with modifications and additions from the large corpus of interview data).

Language Distribution in Pakistan

Pakistan has rich treasure of indigenous languages. According to Ethnologue Languages of the World 16th edition, there are 77 languages in Pakistan. Out of these 72 are indigenous languages (Lewis, 2009). Most of the population consists of bilingual, trilingual or multilingual speakers. A common phenomenon is that each person has one indigenous language which is his/her mother tongue whereas Urdu is the second language for them. Then at school they are supposed to learn English and other world languages such as Arabic, etc.

Pakistan comprises of different cultural, religious and linguistic groups which call for their own individual identity and the linguistic identity is one major source of creating social groups.

Attitudes of Various Classes toward Language Use

Urdu is the lingua franca of Pakistan and is spoken or understood by almost every Pakistani. It is also the national language of Pakistan. Pakistani society is divided into different classes. The affluent class favours speaking and learning English for their toddlers as compared to Urdu and other regional languages of Pakistan. This class which prefers English to other smaller languages is the elite class (Rahman, 2006a; Mahboob, 2002). The members of this class are educated and trained in elite English medium schools. This class usually occupies positions of importance and influence in the bureaucracy and enjoys the perks of civil service and politics. They are trained to rule the majority population or, in other words, Urdu medium masses.

Urdu medium is a term used in a derogatory sense to refer to the backwardness of Government schools as compared to English medium schools (privately established English medium schools) which symbolize high standard, knowledge and sophistication.

English is an official language of the country. It is also the language of the superior services examinations. People from the elite class, mostly trained in elite English medium institutions, qualify for higher posts and, as a consequence, a dichotomy is created among the segments of population.

The condition of the smaller and minority languages in Pakistan is not good and they may not prosper in future as these languages are not granted the appropriate status to expand their domains of use and grow. The rich heritage of the indigenous languages is being ignored and the so-called sophisticated and cultured languages like English and Urdu continue to prosper and expand their domains of use.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Interference of Mappila Dialect in the Standard Malayalam Language - with special reference to the writing performance of Primary School Children | Effect of Environmental Education to School Children Through Animation Based Educational Video | Women as Victors of the Social Milieu in Amy Tan's China | A Comparative Study of the Language Learning Strategies Used by the Students of Formal and Non-Formal Systems of Education in Pakistan | New Vistas in Comparative Studies | Comparative Analysis of MA English Results under Annual and Semester system: Quality Assurance in Pakistan | A Virtual Learning Environment in an ESL Classroom in a Technical University in India | When a School Becomes a Pool - What Can We Do to Make Language Learning Interesting to Yemeni Students | Does Number Affect English Pronunciation? | Shashi Tharoor: Transmuting Historical and Mythical Material into Literary Ideas | The Impact of Working Memory on Text Composition in Hearing Impaired Adults | A Study of the ELT Teachers' Perception of Teaching Language through Literature at the Higher Secondary School and Degree Levels in Pakistani Milieu | Some Aspects of Teaching-Learning English as a Second Language | Challenges Encountered by Teachers in Rural Areas and Strategies to Triumph Over | Variation of Voice Onset Time (VOT) in Kannada Language | A Comparative Study on the Efficacy of Two Different Clinical Language Intervention Procedures | Dilemma of Usage and Transmission - A Sociolinguistic Investigation of Dhundi-Pahari in Pakistan | Teaching Beyond the Regular Curriculum | Claustrophobia in Anita Desai's Cry, The Peacock - "From Defeat to Disaster" | Code Mixing and Code Switching in Tamil Proverbs | A Phonetic and Phonological Study of the Consonants of English and Arabic | HOME PAGE of May 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Muhammad Gulfraz Abbasi, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of English
Bahauddin Zakariya University
Multan, Pakistan

Saiqa Imtiaz Asif, Ph.D.
Department of English
Bahauddin Zakariya University
Multan, Pakistan

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