9.0 Introduction

Given the multiplicity of languages in India, it is obvious that English will be used in limited areas of activity. The domains of Home, Peer Group, Street, Extended Family Interactions, Government School Education, General Public Administration, Common Health System, Lower Judiciary, Mass Media for common people etc. will all be largely dominated by the regional languages. It is only in the domains of Higher Judiciary, High Level Administration, Legislatures in certain States, National Newspapers and Magazines, Higher Education, School Education of the Elite etc. that English dominates. What is important is that in several areas, English is increasingly making serious inroads into the Family domain as well and mixed regional language-English codes are becoming standard modes of Peer Group communication. There is no doubt that the importance of English will increase in the future; however, given the modern technology, one hopes there will be a simultaneous growth of Indian languages as well.

9.1 Home

The language of Home is typically the native language(s) of the members. Depending upon the levels of education in the family, some English may be used at home, particularly in such cities as Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. The medium of communication among the sibling will be largely English if they go to one of the prestigious 'public' schools. However, if one is not educated in an English medium school, then he/she will usually speak in Native Language.

The use of English is moderate with the parents. If the parents are not well exposed to English, the use is rare. However, the frequency of use of English is more with father. The use of English is very little in with grand parents.

Agnihotri & Khanna (1997) examined the distribution of their sample in terms of the use of English in the family:

Frequency of use (%) of English Relation Total no. of persons Always Sometimes Rarely Father 1072 7.6 61.7 30.7 Mother 1081 5.3 41.8 52.9 Grandparents 860 3.3 23.7 73.1 Brothers/sisters 1039 15.2 57.1 26.6 Husband/wife 158 2.5 35.4 62.0 Sons/daughters 142 9.2 35.1 55.6

It is obvious that the highest use is seen with brothers and sisters.

9. 2 Neighborhood

Inter group language use

Communication across different linguistic groups such as Gujratis and Tamilians takes place largely in English if the interlocutors on both sides are educated. In the absence of English, either some Hindi may be used or the communication may be largely non-verbal.

Intra group language use

Within a group people are more comfortable in their local or regional language. However, sometimes English may be used.

9.3 Market

Use of English at market places depends upon the nature of customer and the status of shops.

At the local and regional levels, the language used is generally native which is of commonly understood by all kinds of customers and shopkeepers.

At the National and International level, the customers come from different societies and backgrounds. At these levels the language used is generally English and in some case it could be Hindi.

9.4 School

In all the schools (English or Hindi) English is introduced at class 4 or 5 and continues till class 10. According to 1992 Fifth All India Education Survey only 1.3% of primary schools, 3.4% of upper primary schools, 3.9% of middle schools, and 13.2% high schools use English as a medium of instruction. Schools treating English as the first language (requiring ten years of study) are only 0.6% of rural primary schools, 2.8% of rural high schools, and 9.9% of urban high schools. English in India is offered as a second language (six years of study) in 51% of rural primary schools, 55% of urban primary schools, 57% of rural high schools, 51% of urban high schools. As a third language (three years of study), English is offered 5% of rural primary schools, 21% of urban primary schools, 44% of rural high schools, and 41% of urban high schools. These statistics show that rural people have very little access to English and this access needs to be increased manifold if English is going to continue to be an important language in India. In general, in most government schools, the medium of instruction is one of the regional languages mentioned in the 8th schedule of the constitution. As Chaturvedi and Mohale (1976: 44) point out, it is only in 3 States and 5 Union Territories that English is the major medium of instruction; in 12 States and 3 Union Territories, it is a subordinate medium of instruction. The States and Union Territories in which it is the major medium of instruction include Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar, Arunachal, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Mizoram. Other than this, English is indeed a major medium of instruction in several of the urban 'public' schools in India.

9.5 Higher Education

In most of the colleges the medium of instruction is English, along with the regional languages. In many states, all higher education in humanities and social sciences are in the regional language. Science and Mathematics tend to be taught in English.

At the level of university, the medium of instruction is generally English. Out of 94 universities offering post-graduate courses in Arts, 76 (84.5%) provides for instruction and examination through the medium of English. In 41 universities, English is the only medium of instruction and Examination. Out of 86 universities offering post graduate courses in Science, English is the only medium of teaching and exam in 57 (66.3%), others provide for English and the regional language or Hindi (Parasher 1991: 37).

English is the sole medium of education (instruction and examination) in all the professional institutes of engineering, technology and medicine all over the country.

9.6 Work Place

Various places of work may be divided into private and government. At private work places (MNCs, Private companies etc.) the language used is mostly English.

At the level of Government office the language used is English among officers. However, the local level staffs generally use regional language or Hindi. But all the official conversation is done in English.

The nature of language use in terms of dealing with customers can be better understood with the help of the following graph:

Illiterate Hindi Hindi Hindi/Regional Regional (I) (I,M) (I, LM) (I, C) (I,P) Mediu cation English/ English/ Hindi Hindi / (ME) Hindi Hindi (ME, C) Regional (ME, M) (ME, LM) (ME, P) Well Educated English English English/ Hindi/ (WE) (We, M) (We, LM) Hindi Regional (We, C) (WE, P) Managers Lower Clerk Peon (M) Managers (C) (P) (LM) Government/Private(work places)

(above graph is based on the facts available from Agnihotri and Khanna 1997, Parasher 1991).

9.7 Public Meetings

a.Clubs formed by Various Groups.

It consists of people from different regional or social backgrounds. The language of conversation in such a group is mostly English.

b. Village Council Meeting

The language used is Regional or Native.

c. Procession

The language used may be English or Hindi or the Regional language.

d. Mass Protest Most of the time language used is Hindi or regional language with some use of English.


1. T.V.

A very liberal use of English is made in the Electronic Media in India. The All India Radio and Doordarshan in New Delhi and its stations in different parts of the country use English and Hindi along with the regional languages. All the national news bulletins are both in Hindi and English. The commentaries, features, talks, discussions, interviews etc. focussing on national and international matters are usually in English as they are aimed at on All India Audience.

2. Cinema

Generally Hindi cinemas are produced. However, there are a few English cinemas produced in India such as English August, Mr. & Mrs. Iyer.

3. Newspaper

English Newspapers are published from all the states and union territories of India except Arunachal and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. According to Government of India Source 3, 827 newspapers (including dailies, weeklies etc.) are published in the country. This number is next only to Hindi newspapers and higher than those published in any other Indian languages.

4.Journals and Magazines

The number of books published in English is not only higher than Hindi, but also almost equal to all other major Indian languages put together.

English is the most dominant language of Professional Journals. Reports of the Registrar of News Papers of India show that most of the periodicals devoted to science, technology, social science, business and industry are published in English.

C. Administration

In addition to being 'the associate official language' of the Union of India, English is the sole official language of Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Aruncachal, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and diu, Mizoram and Pondicherry. English continues to be used very liberally at various levels in the Government administration. English is the major language used in the proceedings of the houses of Indian Parliament.

D. Across the State

According to constitutional provisions English is the official language of communication between one State and another State and between a State and the Union. However, if two States adopt Hindi as their official language of communication, that language may be used for official communication instead of English (Art. 346).

E. National Level

In terms of English speakers, the Indian subcontinent ranks third in the world, after the USA and UK. An estimated 4% of Indian population use English, although, the number might seem small, out of the total population (Crystal 1995:101). Although, the number of English speakers in India is somewhat limited (as compared to the total population), that small segment of the population controls domains that have professional prestige (Kachru 1986a:8).

F. Across the Nation

English continues to be the official language, side by side with Hindi (Official Languages Act, 1963). English is the official language of Parliament alongside Hindi.

English is virtually the first language for many educated Indians, and for many who speak more than one language, English is the second one. Indian speakers of English are primarily bi-lingual Indians who use English as a second language in contexts in which English is used among Indians as a "link" or an "official" language. Only a fraction of the English -using Indian population has any interaction with native speakers of English. According to Kachru's survey (the population of which was graduate faculty of English in the universities and colleges), only 65.64% had occasional interaction with native speakers of English; 11.79% had no interaction and 5.12% claimed to have daily interaction with native speakers of English (ibid, 110).

G. Within the State

The official language within the state is the Regional Language or the state mother tongue. At the District and the Taluk level, English is used among higher officials . However, regional language dominates.

At the block level and village Panchayat almost regional language dominates.

H. Judiciary

The proceedings of the supreme court of India and High Courts have to be in English, under constitutional provisions. The language of the lower court is Hindi or Regional language. Even in lower courts most of the lawyers and judges, educated through the medium of English, prefer to use English (Basu, D.D.1997. Introduction To The Constitution Of India: 390-392).

In police station it is mostly regional language or Hindi. At Panchayat and Block regional languages dominate.

I. Legislature

It consists of Parliament and state assemblies. In parliament English or Hindi is used whereas in state legislature, it is regional language. According to constitutional provision (Article - 348), the authoritative texts of the following kinds of documents are always in English

a. Bills be introduced or amendments to be moved in either house of parliament or in either houses of the legislature of a state.

b. All acts passed by the parliament or the legislature of a state.

c. All rules and regulations issued under constitution or under law made by parliament or the legislature of a state.

J. Oral Tradition (Folklore etc.)

They are generally available in Hindi or regional languages.

K. Written Tradition (Literary Activities)

A sizable body of distinct Indian Literature is produced in English. Indian writing in English is but one of the voices in which India speaks. Several Indian writers like Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, Khushwant Singh, Anita Desai Aroy, J Lahiri etc. are producing creative literature in English.

L .Use in Science and Technology

English is the sole medium of instruction and examination in all the department of Science and Technology. At professional level it is mostly English. In day-to-day interaction English is largely the language of peer-group communication. In formal context, with teachers and books the language used is generally English. English is used with classmates, colleagues, doctors and strangers. It is widely used among friends though more with friends of opposite sex. It is minimally used with shopkeepers and relatives.

M. Translation

Most of the creative writings, professional journals and books of science and technology are available in English. They are translated into Hindi or into other languages provided in constitution. According to authorised translation (central laws) Act, 1973 the authoritative text in the English language of Bills or Amendments to be moved in either house of parliament shall be accompanied by a translation of the same in Hindi. Where the legislature of state has prescribed any other language than Hindi, the Acts and ordinances have to be translated into Hindi and English.

N. Preparation of Dictionaries


Monolingual dictionaries are available in English to English, Hindi to Hindi or in other regional languages.


Almost all bilingual dictionaries are available in Hindi to English or language other than Hindi to English.

O. Interpretation

Language of interpretation is generally English, in English Medium Public Schools. However, at Primary level mother tongue may be used for better understanding of the text. In Government and central schools where both mediums are available, the language of interpretation is Hindi in Hindi mediums, (or Regional Language in Regional Medium Schools) whereas in English Medium, it is mixed Language i.e. English and Hindi or English and Regional language at primary level. However, examination is conducted in English. At secondary and higher secondary level English is the sole medium of interpretation in English medium schools.

In professional courses the language of interpretation is mostly English.

P. Religious Set Up


Language used by an individual or family members while offering prayer is English, in case of Christianity. However, it could be local language also, e.g. in a few states of South India like Kerala. In rest of the religions like:

-Hinduism it is Hindi/Sanskrit -Sikh it is Punjabi -Muslim it is Arabic/ Urdu

2. Pubic Congregation

If it is an urban area where gathering consists of educated people, the sermons are given in English. However, in a rural area it is generally in local language.

3. Tradition worship of local / village / family deities :

In the above places generally the regional or local language is used.

4. Common worshiping place

English is used only in Churches and other places of worship. Like Temple - Hindi / Sanskrit Mosque - Urdu / Arabic Gurudwara - Punjabi

Q. Verbal Dual (Quarrels etc.)

1. Shifting the language during dual:

Language used generally depends on the situation. If it is an urban area where some educated people are involved in dual, then there will be shift of language from Hindi/Regional language to English.

However, if the people involved are Bengali or South Indian, the shift will be towards their Mother tongue (Bengali - Bengali dual, South Indian - dual)

2.Code Mixing:

During interpersonal dual, involving two people there will be mixture of both English and mother tongue (if both are educated and share the common mother tongue). But if their mother tongue is different and they known Hindi, the code mixing will consist of English and Hindi.

In case of inter group dual, (only if the groups involved have different mother tongues) the language used will be English,. Otherwise, such duals usually involve local language.


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