THE EAST INDIAN SPEECH COMMUNITY IN GUYANA: A SOCIOLINGUISTIC STUDY WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO KOINE FORMATION.

SURENDRA KUMAR GAMBHIR, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The present work is a study of the East Indian speech community in Guyana. Out of the many Bihari and Hindi dialects that East Indian immigrants brought with them during the last century, there arose a koine which I call Guyanese Bhojpuri. This study dwells at length with the processes involved in koinization. The study also compares Guyanese Bhojpuri with other Indic koines in Surinam, Trinidad, Fiji, and Mauritius. Chapter I locates Guyanese Bhojpuri in a historical perspective, as well as in its current sociolinguistic situation. Chapter II contains a detailed morphological analysis of Guyanese Bhojpuri grammar. The variation found is more due to incomplete processes of koinization than to social or stylistic factors. Sex, however, is still somewhat significant. The study suggests an initial hypothesis about the differences between male and female speech in eastern and western societies. Chapter III discusses koinization processes in detail. The study demonstrates empirically that while Guyanese Bhojpuri is primarily based on Indian Bhojpuri, it has assimilated a number of linguistic features from the western Hindi dialects. These features include the h future in the second person, the e form, and o form. Standard Hindi, despite its greater prestige, contributed little to the koine. Processes of koinization necessarily result in structural simplification which may entail analytization and the loss of previously optional grammatical rules. Consequently, number and gender were lost in Guyanese Bhojpuri. In Guyanese Bhojpuri, dialect leveling entailed morphological simplification, the loss of linguistic markers of respect, and the elimination of localized features. The study suggests that a comparison with other transplanted varieties of Bhojpuri would be helpful in understanding the general processes of language contact, language mixture, and, in particular, koinization. Chapter IV discusses the linguistic and functional relationship between Guyanese Bhojpuri and Standard Hindi. While Standard Hindi continues to be the model, the Hindi spoken in Guyana has its distinctive norms and can be best described as a subsystem of Standard Hindi. Sociolinguistically, the two varieties are in diglossic relationship, which, given the receding role of Indic languages, is a case of diglossia in dying languages.

Subject Area

Linguistics

Recommended Citation

GAMBHIR, SURENDRA KUMAR, "THE EAST INDIAN SPEECH COMMUNITY IN GUYANA: A SOCIOLINGUISTIC STUDY WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO KOINE FORMATION." (1981). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8207963.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8207963

Share

COinS