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© 2018

The Ecology of Language in Multilingual India

Voices of Women and Educators in the Himalayan Foothills

Benefits

  • Provides an in-depth, situated perspective on multilingualism in India

  • Explores the connections between language policy and language ideology through the experiences of minority language speakers

  • Examines how students and educators navigate a multilingual society and diverse classroom practices

  • Highlights the priorities of young Kumauni women and educators around the themes of language, education, and empowerment

Book

About this book

Introduction

This book explores the linguistic ecology of the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand, India through the experiences and discourses of minority youth and their educators. Providing in-depth examples of Indian multilingualism, theis volume analyses how each language is valued in its own context; how national-level policies are appropriated and contested in local discourses; and how language and culture influence educational opportunities and identity negotiation for Kumauni young women. In doing so, the author examines how students and educators navigate a multilingual society with similarly diverse classroom practices. She simultaneously critiques the language and education system in modern India and highlights alternative perspectives on empowerment through the lens of a unique Gandhian educational context. This volume allows Kumauni women and their educators to take centre stage, and provides a thoughtful and nuanced insight into their minority language environment. This unique book is sure to appeal to students and scholars of multilingualism, sociolinguistics, language policy and minority languages.

Cynthia Groff is Guest Researcher at Leiden University, Netherlands. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, she has conducted post-doctoral research through Université Laval, Québec, Canada, and the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Mexico.

Keywords

anthropology Asia Asian languages ecology India linguistics literature multilingualism social science sociolinguistics women

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands

About the authors

Cynthia Groff is Guest Researcher at Leiden University, Netherlands. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, she has conducted post-doctoral research through Université Laval, Québec, Canada, and the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Mexico.
  

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“Cynthia Groff invites readers to get to know Kumani young women’s multilingualism, literacy practices, and lives – as told in their own words and stories. Drawing on her experiences living and learning with them at Lakshmi Ashram in northern India, Groff eloquently shows how the young women’s experiences entwine with the school’s Gandhian vision of empowerment. (Nancy Hornberger, University of Pennsylvania, USA)

“Cynthia Groff's ethnographic work in the Kumaun region of India offers an excellent kaleidoscopic view of multilingualism from a folk perspective and an insightful analysis of the complexities and challenges of some core issues in multilingualism — the fluidity of linguistic boundaries and the hierarchical relationships among languages. The work shows a deep engagement with the current concerns in respect of language policies and practices in multilingual societies.” (Ajit Mohanty, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

“Cynthia Groff’s book is a major achievement and contribution in the field of Educational Linguistics. The carefully observed, often lyrical, rendering of ethnographic detail is punctuated by astute insights about the language ecology in the Kumaun region of India. Connections are highlighted between Indian language policy, language ideologies, and the educational experiences of a group of girls in a Gandhian boarding school. The girls are the heart of the book and, by highlighting their beliefs and experiences, Groff gives voice to those who have traditionally been quieted, in India and throughout the world.” (David Cassels Johnson, University of Iowa, USA)