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Indian English Grammar

Ruprecht-Karls-Universitt Heidelberg Anglistisches Seminar HS: Indian English Dozentin: Prof. Dr. Marianne Hundt Referentinnen: Eva Breither & Simone Schll Datum: 29.05.2008

Topics
1. 2. 3. 4. Introduction: grammar Indian English syntax Methodology in linguistic research Mukherjee & Hoffmann: study on verb-complementational profile

1. Introduction:Grammar
Language

Grammar
Language

Structure

Pragmatics

Use

Grammar
Language

Structure

Pragmatics

Use

Medium of Transmission (phonetics/phonology)

Grammar
Language

Structure

Pragmatics

Use

Medium of Grammar Transmission (phonetics/phonology) (morphology/syntax)

Grammar
Language

Structure

Pragmatics

Use

Medium of Grammar Meaning Transmission (semantics, (phonetics/phonology) (morphology/syntax) lexicon/sentence)

Grammar
Language

Structure

Pragmatics

Use

Medium of Grammar Meaning Transmission (semantics, (phonetics/phonology) (morphology/syntax) lexicon/sentence)

Grammar
Language

Structure

Pragmatics

Use

Medium of Grammar Meaning Transmission (semantics, (phonetics/phonology) (morphology/syntax) lexicon/sentence)

Grammar
Morphology
How related words, including plurals and past tenses are formed

Syntax
What category a word belongs to and how to use it in a sentence

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2. Indian English Syntax


South Asian English (SAE)
Cover term for educated variety Several varieties within SAE parameters
Proficiency in English Region & regional dominant language Ethnic background

Functionally determined varieties


Babu English, Butler English, Boxwll English
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Babu (baboo) English


Used in most of north India, in Nepal, parts of south India Formerly administrative English Excessive stylistic ornamentation, politeness, indirectness

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Example: Application for a Post


Sir, being in much need and suffering many privations I have after long time come to the determination to trouble your bounteous goodness. [] Here on earth who have I but thee, [] needless to say that unless your milk of human kindness is showered on my sad state no other hope is left in this world [] If your honour kindly smile on my efforts [] and bestow on me a small birth (berth) of rupees[] then I can subsist myself and my families without the hunger of keen poverty, with assurance that I am ever praying for your goodness and liberality.
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Butler English (Kitchen/ Bearer E.)


Used in major metropolitan cities Language simplification
Butler-master communication Local language characteristics and SVO word order Structure like minimal pidgin
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Characteristics
Use of tense
Present participle indicates future: I telling (I will tell) Preterite: I done tell (I have told)

Deletion of auxiliaries, verb inflections, prepositions; often-ing forms; restricted lexicon Indirect speech reported directly
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Englishisation
Impact of English language and literature on south Asian languages and literatures At the grammatical level
Impersonal construction Passive construction Word order

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Rakesh M. Bhatt
Direct and indirect questions
VIE: direct questions: wh-phrase is moved to the left-edge of the clause:
When you are coming home?

also: wh-phrases can occur in any order:


What who has eaten? Who has eaten what?

Indirect questions: wh-phrase is followed by auxiliary:


I wonder where does he work.

inversion: restricted to indirect questions and does not apply to matrix questions (unlike StIE)
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Tag questions
VIE: cultural requirements of politeness principle of non-imposition: In cultures where verbal behaviour is under constraint by politeness regulations, the grammar of the variety spoken permits the use of undifferentiated tags:
These mistakes may please be corrected. These mistakes should please be corrected.

You said youll do the job, isnt it? You have taken my book, isnt it?

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Topicalization
Definition: Syntactic operation that places given information at the beginning of a sentence which is followed by new information VIE: any constituent of sentence can be topicalized most common: object-noun phrase but also adverbial of place and time:
Any minute he will come. All of these languages we speak at home. His friends know that her parents, he doesnt like at all.
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The syntax of focus particle only


Whereas wh-phrases move to the left-edge of the clause, other elements (e.g. adverbs) like only move to the opposite side:
These women wear everyday expensive clothes only. He will buy over there tickets only.

verb does not have to be followed immediately by its complement In VIE: correlation between right-edge and focus
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Null subjects and objects: Pro-drop


Pronoun can only be dropped if its reference can be recovered from the agreement marking on the finite verb in VIE pro-drop is possible both in subject and object position
Our Sanjay does that too: pro plays all day long, and then pro just comes in and demands food.

Null expletive (it) subjects


Pro rained yesterday only.

VIE does not require semantically empty subjects like it and there:

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Other features I
article variability plural s with non-count nouns: deadwoods, furnitures,

apparels

progressive with stative verbs:


progressive form with future + with habitual and completed action present be for perfective have and been: I am here since 2 oclock. auxiliary variation: could and would as tentative/ polite instead of can and will, may instead of should
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You must be knowing him.

Other features II
responses to yes-no questions couched in the negative: Didnt I see you yesterday? Yes, you didnt see me. reduplication of adjectives and verbs:

different-different things
variation in to complements: We are involved to

collect poems.

use of post-verbal adverbial there in place of dummy there: Bread is there There is bread

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3. Methodology in Linguistic Research


Rakesh M. Bhatt
syntactic description of English based on methodological premise 3 kinds of data collected in New Delhi
recordings of spontaneous speech data from published sources introspective judgements
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Methodology
Lange (Focus marking in Indian English):
Investigating the use of only and itself in Indian English data collected from the Indian subcorpus of the ICE

Sharma (The pluperfect in native and nonnative English: a comparative study)


Examination of corpus of present-day Indian English print texts for shift in usage Quantitative and qualitative comparison with two native varieties of English (BE, AmE) to establish the nature of this change
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Methodology
Hoffmann und Mukherjee
pilot study with descriptive aim that combines at methodological level use of balanced and representative subcorpora (ICE) with much larger database that has been extracted from the internet archive of the daily Indian newspaper The Statesman syntactic description

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4. Mukherjee & Hoffmann (2006)


Describing verb-complementational profiles of new Englishes
Ditransitive verbs and their complementation Verb-complementation: two aspects:
range of the patterns of an individual verb in a variety range of verbs with which an individual pattern is associated

Intransitive: no further element needed (SV) Transitive: require an object (SVO, SVOO, SVOC, SVOA)
Ditransitive: SVOO
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Complementation Patterns of Ditransitive Verbs


Five basic types give
I. II. III. IV. V. (S) (S) (S) (S) (S) GIVE GIVE GIVE GIVE GIVE [O(i):NP] [O(d):NP] [O(d):NP] [O(i):PP(to)] [O(d):NP] O(i) O(i) O(d) [O(i):NP] O(d)

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Group Work

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Thank you for your attention !

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