Publication details [#63106]

Suryanarayan, Neelakshi. 2017. From Yashwant Place to Yashka: a case study of commodification of Russian in India. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 20 (4) : 428–442.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This article is a case study of how the commodification of the Russian language has transformed a market in New Delhi, India, inaugurated in 1969 and known as Yashwant Place. Over the years, the market slowly adopted a new identity, referred to as Yashka by Russian visitors and tourists from countries of the former Soviet Union, symbolizing the status it has obtained as a mostly Russian (-speaking) place of trade. With the help of ethnographic fieldwork that covers participant observations and interviews, this article traces the histories of four shops in the market that mostly cater to Russian speakers, exploring both how Russian appeared as a language that provides an added value and at the same time ask, which Russian is actually commodified by whom and in which ways. In dealing with the histories of the shops, the personal trajectories of salespersons and their motivations to acquire a form of Russian, this article tries to display the particular conditions and processes that characterize the commodification of languages within specific spaces for restricted audiences. This will supply insights into the characteristics of a locally confined ‘Yashka-pidgin' language that emerged as a result of commodification efforts by local entrepreneurs.