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Title: Language Shift and Ethnolinguistic Vitality: A Sociolinguistic Study of Indigenous Minority Language Speakers in Karachi.
Authors: Ali, Shumaila Shafket
Keywords: English
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: University of Karachi, Karachi
Abstract: This research aims to explore the linguistic behaviour of Burushaski speakers (an indigenous minority language group belonging to the Northern-most areas of Pakistan) living in Karachi, and the factors, both social and psychological, that are responsible for their linguistic choices to determine their degree of shift/maintenance and their ethnolinguistic vitality. Being a Mixed Methods case study, the research utilized both quantitative and qualitative data gathered through a SEV questionnaire administered on 120 Burushaski speakers studying at the University of Karachi, followed by in-depth interviews of 30 key informants, who were selected on the basis of the questionnaire analysis. In order to present the scholars’ perspective on the status of Burushaski language, some local scholars working on the indigenous languages were also interviewed followed by a visit to Hunza to cross check the validity of the information provided by the research participants. The research findings indicate clear signs of Burushaski language shift among the Burusho community living in Karachi despite having a positive attitude towards Burushaski language which is indicative of a high sense of ethnolinguistic vitality. Although the findings reveal that the Burushos living in Karachi have mostly confined their language to the home domain, it is heartening to discover that the intergenerational transmission of Burushaski has not completely stopped. All the Burushaski speakers who participated in the study not only claimed to have the ability to speak Burushaski but a majority of them also expressed the desire to transmit it to the next generation which reflects their willingness to maintain their ties with their native language and culture. The results of the study also reveal gender differences with regard to the participants’ language use in different domains and their psychological orientation towards Burushaski language. Gender differences were also observed in the participants’ views regarding the future of Burushaski. The significance of this case study lies in its attempt to promote research on indigenous languages of Pakistan (especially the ones that are declared endangered) and their speakers, particularly those linguistic groups, who move to urban centers for better economic prospects and upward social mobility. As a result of their movement, most of these indigenous language groups either integrate or assimilate in the mainstream society, resulting in language shift and in certain cases language attrition. The findings of this study can lead to the awareness that is needed to make efforts for maintaining linguistic and cultural diversity at both regional and national level in Pakistan and can accelerate the efforts to bring reforms in the existing language and education policy of the country which hardly has any room for the preservation and promotion of minority languages.
Gov't Doc #: 17808
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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