India and the English language: a combined synoptic / case study of South Indian educators’ perceptions of factors influencing English as the world’s lingua franca

2017-03-02T00:39:36Z (GMT) by Daniel, Rachel Karpagam
This thesis explores the history behind the growth of English as a lingua franca in India by focusing on the growth of India into the largest English speaking nation in the world. It examines the existence of a variety of Indian English among the linguistically diverse landscape of the country and the reasons behind the emergence of English as an official language despite being a foreign language on Indian soil. The establishment of the English language as the language of education, administration and communication with various other crucial roles is also examined. This study sought to identify key factors influencing the growth of the English language and the linguistic issues that have had to be overcome. The research involved surveying more than 300 educators from the Southern states of India, followed up with 27 individual interviews with participants from the primary to tertiary sector and across various disciplines. The study explored the forces and influences informing participants’ choice of language, with some of the benefits and losses that have resulted from those choices. The political, ideological, social, economic and cultural influences that have affected and influenced the growth of English have been analysed. The mixed methods design of this study allowed for the exploration of the view of educators from diverse backgrounds from whom general views and statistical information was gained through surveys and in-depth perceptions through interviews. The findings illustrate that the major factors that have influenced and that are continuing to influence the growth of English in India are related to employment opportunities, media and communication, globalization and technology and population. More importantly, the results show that English has evolved to become an indispensable part of Indian culture and is closely linked to current Indian identity.