Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.309
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.858
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.404

99,00 € / $149.00 / £75.00*

See all formats and pricing

Select Volume and Issue
Loading journal volume and issue information...

Languages, inequality and marginalization: implications of the double divide in Indian multilingualism

Ajit K. Mohanty1

1Jawaharlal Nehru University

Correspondence address:

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2010, Issue 205, Pages 131–154, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: 10.1515/ijsl.2010.042, October 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


Features of Indian multilingualism are discussed to show that, despite several positive forces favoring maintenance of minority languages, languages are subjected to inequality and discrimination. It is argued that multilingualism in India, as in other South Asian countries, is hierarchical in nature, characterized by a double divide — one between the elitist language of power and the major regional languages (vernaculars) and, the other, between the regional languages and the dominated ones. The nature and implications of this double divide are analyzed in respect of the relative positions of English, Hindi, regional majority languages and other indigenous/minority languages. The paper shows that, at the same time as hierarchical multilingualism has led to a general loss of linguistic diversity, the progressive domain shrinkage and the marginalization of the surviving indigenous and minority languages affect the dynamics of the relationship between languages and linguistic groups in contact and negotiation of linguistic identities. The chasm between policy and practice affecting the place of languages in society, it is argued, leads to educational failure, capability deprivation and poverty in the minority linguistic groups, particularly the tribal mother tongue speakers. Programs of multilingual education are briefly discussed in the context of recent attempts to deal with classroom language disadvantage of tribal children in India.

Keywords:: double divide; English-vernacular divide; English-other language divide; language and education; multilingual education

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Usree Bhattacharya
Current Issues in Language Planning, 2013, Volume 14, Number 1, Page 164

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.