Hindi etc.

gail at utxvms.cc.utexas.edu gail at utxvms.cc.utexas.edu
Fri Nov 29 20:23:57 UTC 1996

On Fri, 29 Nov 1996, Cyber Maadhva Sangha wrote:

> Well, now, Calicut is not exactly part of the area under
> consideration.  As for the first three (none of which I actually
> mentioned), I have some assurance that your experience cannot be
> representative, because I happen to come from those parts myself.
> Bangalore has had, especially in the last 10-15 years, a lot of
> Punjabis, Gujaratis, etc., coming in, and the native Kannada speakers
> are themselves in a bit of a minority.  You wouldn't get anywhere
> trying to direct an auto-driver in English: most are Urdu-speaking
> Muslims with less than a high-school education.

Auto-drivers would, of course, know Hindi since they have to talk to all 
those incoming northerners who need rides from the railway station, etc. But 
what about others in Bangalore? -- shopkeepers, clerks, etc? I still 
don't believe that Hindi is better understood than English.

> In fact, 
Karnataka has slightly more than the national average
> percentage of Muslims, and all speak Urdu at home.  

That means little more than 10% -- not a very big percentage. On the 
other hand for English, there are people who speak English fluently and 
use it extensively at home plus a large number who use it as their second 
language and who go to English medium schools.

I'm quite sure
> there aren't as many fluent English speakers as Muslims -- this alone
> proves the point.  There's also even an Urdu program on tv in
> Bangalore, has been for some years now.

Remember that Bangalore has a large number of AngloIndians and Mangalore 
Christians who speak English fluently *and* speak it at home. I don't 
know what the percentage is, though.

 > > One point to be noted is that 
your ability to judge how 
well > Hindi/Urdu are spoken and received, would be related to your own
> ability to speak those languages fluently.  May I ask if you do speak
> them well?  If not, it is but natural that people would speak to you
> everywhere in English only, making your judgement questionable.

The same is true of Hindi -- if you're in the habit of initiating 
conversation in Hindi, then those who speak it will reply in Hindi if 
they know that language. That's the problem with basing these 
observations on personal experience -- much depends on your own role as a
controlling factor in these experiences. The same goes for my personal 
experiences, so what we need is information from empirical research on 
attitudes, usage etc. 

At this point, let's just agree to disagree.


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