Language Ecology in the Kumaun: The Value of Each and Relationships Among Them

  • Cynthia Groff
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities book series (PSMLC)


This chapter addresses the value of multilingualism and the value of each of the relevant languages in the Kumaun, as expressed by the Kumauni people with whom I interacted. English is valued as international language, Hindi as national language, Sanskrit as root language, and Kumauni as “our” language. I explore the role of each language and the relationships among them, including the demand for English, the reasons given by young women for learning English, and the alternative perspective demonstrated at Lakshmi Ashram. Kumauni is valued in its place: “It should be kept alive. It should not be thrown out.” The importance of the sociocultural environment for language use choices, language acquisition, and language maintenance in community also emerged in my conversations in the Kumaun.


  1. Groff, C. (in press). Language policy and language ideology: Ecological perspectives on language in the Himalayan foothills. Anthropology and Education Quarterly. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia Groff
    • 1
  1. 1.Leiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands

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