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

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.