Cornell University

This is a past event. Its details are archived for historical purposes.

The contact information may no longer be valid.

Please visit our current events listings to look for similar events by title, location, or venue.

SAP Seminar Series, "Rethinking Bilingualism: Multiple perspectives from India" by Shobha Satyanath

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Morrill Hall, 107
Cornell University Dept, 159 Central Avenue, Morrill Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-4701, USA

Research on Bilingualism commonly brings up questions such as: ‘how many languages do you speak?’, ‘what is your first language?’, or ‘what language do you speak at home?’. These questions may seem simple and straightforward, but answers to these seemingly ingenuous questions are often varied and far from simpler. This is especially true for the speakers of more than 49 languages that are identified as dialects of Hindi in the VIII schedule of Indian constitution and listed in every Indian census. The answers to the above questions by speakers of these Hindi dialects may easily be misinterpreted as instances of language loss.

On the other hand, there are states where the state languages do not function as the local lingua francas. In some of these states (e.g., Nagaland, Meghalaya) people tend to over report use of the state language (English) in their daily linguistic practices.  Answers to some of these questions are often influenced by the nature of relationships that exist between languages.

While reported linguistic behavior may be influenced by state policies, the state may have little influence on language choices and identities. Outcomes of language contact in terms of bilingualism and bi-dialectalism are often deep rooted in local ecologies and cannot be generalized for the entire nation such as India. This talk provides multiple perspectives on bilingualism, bidialectalism by drawing on various parts of India and various contact settings and particularly builds upon biographies of bilinguals.

Shobha Satyanath specializes in the related multidisciplinary areas of  Language Variation and Change, Socio Phonetics, Dialect Geography, Language contact, Pidgins and Creoles, Multilingualism, Socio-Historical, and quantitative linguistics, which translates inth both her teaching and research. Her research is majorly concentrated in Eastern and North Eastern India and on urban town and cities across the country.

Google Calendar iCal Outlook
Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Linguistics, South Asia Program, Center for the Study of Inequality


cascal, soccal, csical


Free Admission

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Valerie Foster Githinji

Contact Phone


Disability Access Information

Available upon request

Open To


Recent Activity