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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia / Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

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CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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1613-3668
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Volume 2018, Issue 253

Issues

The language medium “divide”: Ideologies of Hindi-English use at four all-girls’ “public schools” in North India

Meghan M. Chidsey
  • Corresponding author
  • International & Transcultural Studies, Anthropology & Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
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Published Online: 2018-08-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2018-0022

Abstract

When the first, all-girls’ Indian Public Schools opened their doors they were not the progenitors of women’s education nor the first English-medium schools in the princely states. These schools fulfilled a different need – educating the daughters of India’s aristocracy. While in the schools’ initial years, students could pursue either Hindi- or English-medium streams, they quickly became (inter)nationally renowned for their prowess in the English language. In the decades surrounding Indian independence, they served as localized symbols of “quality” education, women’s emancipation, and Indian modernity. Though many of these perceived advantages still hold true, contemporary practices pertaining to participation in entrance examinations, higher education, and peer group sociality are challenging their meanings and uses. Not only are female students (re)creating ideologies that link English, Hindi, and/or other vernaculars to certain class- and gender-based notions of being “cool”, “modern”, or “rustic”, to “belonging”, “showing off”, or “proving it”, but institutional competition from private (largely Hindi-medium) tutoring centers are further complicating the primacy of English-medium education. As such, this article interrogates the various ways stakeholders of four, historic, all-girls’ Indian Public Schools interact with, police, place value upon, and find meaning through language.

Keywords: India; language ideology; elite schooling; post-colonialism; gender

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About the article

Published Online: 2018-08-18

Published in Print: 2018-08-28


Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2018, Issue 253, Pages 27–53, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2018-0022.

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