Accepted paper:

Language change In Lepcha: traces of languages in contact


Satarupa Dattamajumdar(Saha) (The Asiatic Society, Kolkata)

Paper short abstract:

Language change in Lepcha (a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in India), a result of languages in contact is studied diachronically from the point of view of socio-political history of migration (Tibetans, Nepalese), colonialism (British), geo political fragmentation and modern democratic set-up.

Paper long abstract:

Keeping in view the complexity of bilingualism, an offshoot of languages in contact, the language situation of Lepcha (a Tibeto-Burman language mainly spoken in Sikkim and in Darjeeling district of West Bengal in India) has been studied in the multicultural and multilingual context. The socio-political history of migration (by Tibetans, Nepalese), colonialism (British), geo political fragmentation and modern democratic set-up that the speech community experienced across the time period have been discussed for the purpose of substantiating the linguistic consequences of the Lepcha speaking community. The paper concentrates on 'language maintenance' (non-convergence) and 'language shift (shrinkage)' or broadly speaking, 'language loss' in terms of language structure, viewing the Lepcha language from the diachronic point of view. Co-relation of the use or choice of language(s) in different social domains and the societal factors has been established throughout the study. Contact situation of languages cannot be viewed only as a dichotomous situation of 'convergence' and 'non-convergence' or 'divergence', but also situation of 'language loss' or 'language shrinkage' where the speech community ceases to use particular language structure which was once in use as found or available in the earlier literature. Such 'language loss' or 'language shrinkage' can be the result of different social and demographic factors which ultimately help us in determining and justifying the present socio-linguistic position of Lepcha. The discussion focuses on language change from the view point of phonological and morphological aspects of the Lepcha language. The present work is based on the data collected from field investigation.

panel MMM15
Migration and its linguistic consequences in South Asia and neighbouring regions