Singh, Jaspal

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
The uses of English in urban, middle-class India: social meaning and identity constructions
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Frances Rock and Dr Mercedes Durham
Supervising school:
School of English, Communication & Philosophy,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The project presents a synchronic, local and group-specific report of the various uses of English in urban India. I chose to study the everyday interaction of young members of the so-called middle-class in one of India’s big cities. I regard the middle-class as a discursively constructed social stratum which is ideologically intertwined with language. I am planning to observe a community of practice (Lave and Wenger 1995) – ideally a friendship clique – and analyse their habitual uses of linguistic and social interaction. Thus speakers will not be studied individually but in an environment of collaborating actors who are jointly negotiating, contesting and refining personal and group identities. Above and beyond a description, the research is therefore able to explore the social meaning of linguistic performances.