Accepted paper:

Convergence of Bangla as a Diasporic Predicament: A Case Study of the Bangla-speaking Santhals from Purbi Singhbhum


Kanak Kanti Bera (Panskura Banamali College, WB, India)

Paper short abstract:

Consequent upon the recent migration of the Santhals from Purbi Singhbhum to Kolkata, their Dehati Bangla (DB) has come in contact with Standard Colloquial Bangla (SCB). The paper examines the nature of such lexical, semantic and phonological alternations DB has undergone in this contact situation.

Paper long abstract:

Santhals (a tribal community in India) hailing from Mohanpur in Ghatshila, Purbi Singhbhum, India, generally speak Santhali as L1. But Dehati Bangla (henceforth DB) being used as a medium of interaction in formal situations, it's a bilingual situation for them. Now very recently, a large number of people from this community, after migrating to the cities like Kolkata for professional purposes, are exposed to Standard Colloquial Bangla (SCB), and consequently the DB has undergone many linguistic changes as a sort of convergence. Examining the data collected from the migrants and the body of literature written in DB available in Ghatshila, the paper clearly marks the changes the migrants' Bangla has already undergone. Our data collected from field investigation reveal many alternations like: /aɡuɻ/ → /daroɟa/ 'door' (Lexical) /kãhi/ → /kotʰaḙ/ 'where' (Lexical) /ũdur/ → /ĩdur/ 'rat' (Phonological, vowel fronting) /ɟacʰi/→ /ɟacʰcʰi/ 'I'm going' (Phonological, gemination) /maʈʰ/ 'playground'→ /maʈʰ/ 'playground' / 'field for cultivation' (Semantic). By exploring such a corpus available, the paper aims to substantiate the claim that, being in close contact with SCB, their Bangla exhibits a converging tendency in terms of their vocabulary, semantics, accents and other phonological parameters, but still retains the Santhali accent as a mark of linguistic interference. Thus, it's no case of language shrinkage. Rather, the contact situation gives birth to a certain Pidgin Bangla.

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