Project: Multilingualism, Subalternity and Dominance of Single Language Networks
The Hegemony of English in the Multilingual Societies of India and South Africa
General introduction
Approach and assumptions
Research objectives
Project progress
Research group

Objectives of the comparative research

The objectives of our comparative research can be presented as follows:

To determine the extent to which cultural and linguistic diversity is a constitutive part of the individual and collective self-conception of the people viewed as historical subjects.
In what measure did a multicultural/multilingual consciousness survive the multi-faceted colonial-imperial cultural assault, especially through the imposed, alien and alienating educational system?
How are the parameters for the construction of identity and difference being defined in the context of, or in reaction to, the construct of globalisation under one lingua franca?
To examine the effects of the hegemony of English on the language attitudes of speakers of minority languages as well as those State dominant languages in Goa, Maharashtra and Orissa, and South Africans in the Western Cape Province educated through the medium of English.
To investigate the connections between the predominant use of English in education at the institutional level and the vitality or subordination of selected Indian languages and of languages other than English in the Western Cape, and at the distributive level the resultant widespread „semilingualism“ or „truncated multilingualism“ of the youth.
To evaluate the achievements and failures, the advantages and disadvantages of language-in-education policies of particular Indian States like West-Bengal, Orissa, Maharastra and Goa (with its weak status language), and with the existence of powerful public and private English-medium schools; and to draw lessons for South African language policy in education.
To analyse the appropriateness of English as a global lingua franca in terms of professional orientations and scientific-technical requirements, and its centrality in the qualification structures at the tertiary education level.
To suggest shorter and longer term strategies in support of counter-hegemonic developments in the domain of language policy and practice, and specifically the promotion of bi(multi)lingual practices in early childhood development, formal schooling and tertiary education.
Concrete examples of how to implement bilingual education will be documented on the basis of demonstration school projects in Cape Town, Mumbai and Goa. The developmental aspect of our research will be manifest in the consolidation and elaboration of their structures, curricula, materials and practices.