This study examines the linguistic experiences of three caste categories in a community in North Kerala in an effort to comprehend how caste is embodied in language. It examines how linguistic inequality is caused by language standardisation and how people who speak non-standard languages deal with the issue without forsaking their mother tongue. Through a comparative comparison of three caste groups, including the scheduled caste (SC), other backward class (OBC), and the general category (GEN), the study was carried out in Thachankunnu in Kerala (GEN). The participants' direct experiences with the educational institutions are used to analyse the causes and effects of linguistic discrimination. The theoretical frame of the register has been used as the basis of analysis. The study found that participants experienced job loss and linguistic inequality in class participation, demonstrating the existence of language-based discrimination. In various contexts, dialect shifting is regarded as a means of concealing the social status and identity of vernacular language speakers. Identification of the value of mother tongue, language diversity, and resistance to deprivation all play essential roles in achieving language uniformity.
KeywordsMother Tongue standardisation Caste Register Linguistic Inequality
- Agha, A. (2006) Language and social relations (Vol 24), Cambridge University Press, UK.
- Ahearn, L.M. (2012) Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology, John Wiley & Sons.
- Althusser, L. (2014) On the reproduction of capitalism: Ideology and ideological state apparatuses, Verso Books, New York, US
- Devika, J. (2007) 'A people united in development' : developmentalism in modern Malayalee identity. CDS working papers, CDS, Trivandrum, India
- Ferguson, C. A. (1994). Dialect, register, and genre: Working assumptions about conventionalization. Sociolinguistic perspectives on register, 15-30.
- Girish, P.M. (2003) Castelect: A critical study, Language in India, 3(8).
- Girish, P.M. (2017) Adhikaravum Bashayum, Eye books, Kozhikode, India.
- Goulart, L., Gray, B., Staples, S., Black, A., Shelton, A., Biber, D., Egbert, J., & Wizner, S. (2020) Linguistic perspectives on register, Annual Review of Linguistics, 6, 435-455.
- Gumperz, J.J. (1958) Dialect differences and social stratification in a North Indian Village 1, American anthropologist, 60(4), 668-682.
- Hany Babu, M.T. (2017) Breaking the chaturvarna system of languages, Economic and Political Weekly, 52(23), 112-119.
- Joylal, N. (2017) Propagation of caste prejudices through languages, Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Science, 5(10) 62–64.
- Kothari, R. (2013) Caste in a Casteless Language? English as a Language of 'Dalit' Expression, Economic and Political Weekly, 60-68.
- Kumaran, U. K. (2012). Thakshankunnu swaroopam. Kottayam: Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangham.
- Milroy, J. (2001) Language ideologies and the consequences of standardization, Journal of sociolinguistics, 5(4) 530-555.
- Mohan, P. (2021) Wanderers, Kings, Merchants: The Story of India Through Its Languages, Penguin Random House India Private Limited, Gurugram, India
- Shah, S.K., Sarwar, M., Alam, H.M. (2011) The Sociolinguistics study of caste-stereotypes in the language of Punjabi Society, African Journal of Business Management, 5(11) 4485-4489.
- Sruthi, K.V., Jayaraj, T., Kumar, R. (2018) Exploring Variation through many ‘Malayalams’: A Study on ‘Northern Kannur Dialect of Malayalam’, Indian Linguistics, 79(1-2) 51-64.