Young adults' linguistic manipulation of English in Bangla in Bangladesh

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Journal Article
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 2014, 17 (1), pp. 1 - 16
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It is commonly assumed in the print media that bilingual young adults in Bangladesh are subjugated by the colonial legacy of English and they are `polluting Bangla, the national language of Bangladesh, by their indiscriminate insertion of English in it. However, this ethnographic study on a group of young adults in a university in Bangladesh shows that this assumption is simplistic and inadequate. A close linguistic analysis of extracts from their face-to-face and virtual conversations on Facebook illustrates that they (1) use linguistic and semantic forms of both English and Bangla very creatively, strategically and pragmatically, (2) bring in diversity to Bangla not only from English but also from different genre of discourses, and eventually (3) transgress the boundary of the Bangla language. English in fact provides them with newer metalinguistic and indexical opportunities. The study also identifies that the nationalist stance in favour of Bangla may not allow a fuller appreciation of the complex linguistic scenario in Bangladesh. At the end, the study suggests a prospect of a future research that may provide important insights into the socio-cultural dynamics of bilingualism in English and Bangla in the social landscape of Bangladesh as well as in other multilingual contexts.
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