Language shift or maintenance
The case of the Sindhi language in Pakistan
Pakistan is a multilingual country with six major and over 59 minor languages. However, the languages used by the domains of power, (government, corporate sector, media and education), are English and Urdu. Compared to the other regional languages in Pakistan, the Sindhi language has a more emancipated position in the state-run schools and some other domains. The present study seeks to explore the extent to which the use of Sindhi language has been shifted or maintained, and to survey the patterns of language use in certain domains through Fishman’s domain concept for the determination of language shift within the community concerned. A mixed method data collection including questionnaires and in-depth interviews was conducted to find out whether Sindhis in the Sind province of Pakistan maintain their heritage language in specific domains and to ascertain the impact of Pakistan’s language policy on Sindhi language. The results show that Sindhis in Sindh province fully maintain their language and behold sentimental affiliation with it as part of their cultural identity. The Sindhis have successfully uplifted and maintained their language in education and other vital domains. The Sindhi community enjoys a higher ethno-linguistic vitality than the other ethnic groups in Pakistan.
Keywords: Sindhi language, language maintenance, language policy, cultural identity, ethno-linguistic vitality
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Published online: 20 July 2017
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