Accepted paper:

A Sociolinguistic Profile of Long-term Dravidian Residents of Kolkata


Aditi Ghosh (Calcutta University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper studies a section of native speakers of different Dravidian languages, who are staying in Kolkata for at least ten years. The aim of the study is to see how and to what extent migration affects the language use pattern and language attitude of a community.

Paper long abstract:

Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) has been a city that has attracted migrants for a long period of time. Even though these are mostly cases of in-migration from various states of India, due to the great linguistic diversity of the country, which has 122 recognised languages, migration has made Kolkata an extremely diverse and multilingual city. The 1991 census recorded the presence of no less than 91 languages in the city. 0.62% of the total residents of Kolkata are native speakers of one of the four Dravidian languages - Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. The percentage is rather small compared to a language group like Hindi native speakers in Kolkata (21.14%). However, Hindi comprises of linguistic-ethnic groups like Marwaris and Bhojpuris who, unlike the Dravidians, are typically known to migrate and settle away from their place of origins for many generations. The Dravidian migrants in Kolkata are therefore a minority faced with many dominant and non-dominant languages in everyday life in Kolkata. This paper aims to find out how this situation shapes the linguistic attitude and pattern of language use of the community. In order to do so, it analyses the responses, elicited through a questionnaire based survey, of a cross section of people, who are native speakers of one of the Dravidian languages and those who are residents of the city for at least ten years.

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