Skip to main content

Role of media in progression of linguistic change hasn't yet been fully understood

AMU main gate
By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
The Linguistics Department of AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) is holding a three-day international seminar on mediatization and culturalization of language from January 5 to January 7, 2017. Eminent scholars from round the globe will present their papers.
They will discuss the possibilities for future betterment and a much more cohesive and people-friendly blueprint. There will also be a question, answer session.
According to Prof Ali R Fatihi, renowned linguist, “Despite a reasonable volume of relevant scholarship in sociolinguistics and neighbouring fields,the role of media in progressions of linguistic change is not yet fully studied and understood. The effect of Media on linguistic change remains unpacked.”
Truth is that Panini, the 4th century Indian Sanskrit grammarian and linguist who formulated rules of morphological analysis that were more advanced than any western linguist until the 20th century, are still considered as the driving forces in the political economy of language, media concepts, cultural values and specific language codes and ideologies.
It is true that there has been a longstanding tradition of applied linguistic and discourse analytical research on the structure, social meaning, epistemology, and functions of language, however, not much has been researched on the language of media.
Opines Prof MJ Warsi who has taught in Michigan as well as other universities in the USA, in linguistics, researchers from various subfields have approached the issue in quite different ways; however, dialogue across these subfields and their respective views has been limited and inadequate.
The variationist sociolinguistics position that the media play no role in systemic language change is unacceptable and deplorable. Sociolinguists working in the variationist paradigm on varieties of English in America and the UK have argued against a direct role for the broadcast media in systemic aspects of language change in direction of the standard, given the continued and documented diversity of non-standard dialects, particularly at the levels of phonology and morpho-syntax (e.g. Milroy and Milroy 1985; Chambers 1998; Labov 2001).
Hence, the proposed National Seminar aims to introduce the notions of sociolinguistic change and mediatization in order to create a more inclusive theoretical space than the one offered by the notions of ‘the media’ and ‘language change’.
Adds Fatihi that by introducing these concepts and exploring their relationship, the proposed Seminar broadens the theoretical and empirical scope of studying language-media relations in sociolinguistics.
The Seminar extends the conceptualization of language-media relations in sociolinguistics beyond the notions of ‘influence’ and ‘effect’. Relations of language and media in communicative practice are highly complex, and the influence of television on spoken language change is only part of a larger picture.
According to Thomas Wier, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Free University of Tbilisi, media language mediates social life through institutionally constrained language use and visual design. It is true as in print, broadcast or digital form, media spread culturally authoritative representations of social life, from traditional domains such as politics and business to more recent ones such as health and lifestyle.
Conversely, work on language in the media investigates how language issues such as language standards, language ideologies, and language change are represented and thematized in media.
Feels Warsi that Noam Chomski revolutionized the philosophy of language as well as the formal methods used to describe linguistic structures. Most schools of linguistic thought either directly incorporate his views on the generative nature of syntactic structure, or stand in reaction to it.
Indeed, rather than offering value-free representations of the world, media language invariably reflects particular worldviews, interests, and ideas about society, including ideas about language, understanding whose values, beliefs and worldviews are foregrounded and what counts as legitimate language use remain central concerns in media linguistics.
Media language has often been perceived as ‘artificial’ or thoroughly standardized and often planted as well, and therefore fully distinct from what is thought of as the genuine empirical object of sociolinguistics, i.e. conversational language in the community.
There are problems with these dichotomies, as evidence across disciplines suggests that relations between media and community language are increasingly blurred.
Media language becomes more conversational and vernacular, and media fragments are recycled in conversational interaction and therefore the proposed seminar aims to contribute to a broader perspective on the relevance of media to language in society and to move the discussion beyond fixed boundaries between ‘media language’ vs. ‘community language’ or ‘mass media’ vs. ‘interpersonal contact’.
---
*Grandnephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, social commentator. Contact: firozbakhtahmed08@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

Haven't done a good deed, inner soul is cursing me as sinner: Aurangzeb's last 'will'

Counterview Desk The Tomb of Aurangzeb, the last of the strong Mughal emperors, located in Khuldabad, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra, has this epitaph inscribed on it: "Az tila o nuqreh gar saazand gumbad aghniyaa! Bar mazaar e maa ghareebaan gumbad e gardun bas ast" (the rich may well construct domes of gold and silver on their graves. For the poor folks like me, the sky is enough to shelter my grave).