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Linguistics Seminar Series Lecture - Rizwan Ahmed, Qatar University: “Indexicality, identity, and language change: Journey of Urdu across times” "

Event Type
Department of Linguistics
Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building, 707 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana
Nov 11, 2019   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Rizwan Ahmed, Assistant Professor of English Literature & Linguistics, Qatar University
Free and open to the public.
Originating Calendar
School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics Calendar

Abstract: Based on historical data from the 19th century colonial India, supplemented with contemporary data, this talk will present the multilayered sociolinguistic imaginaries of Urdu during and after the British Raj. Firstly, I show the sociolinguistic representations of the Urdu language and its script during the Hindu nationalist movement of the 19thcentury, foregrounding the changes in the indexicalities of Urdu in postcolonial India. Secondly, I show how these conceptions of Urdu relate to its current use in Bollywood songs across the last five decades.

As I sketch the journey of Urdu over three centuries, I bring to the fore the complex web of language, script, politics, and identity that has shaped and has been shaped by the Urdu language. The study is informed by a combination of theories and methods from (historical) sociolinguistics, linguistic ethnography, and quantitative sociolinguistics. 

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