South African Indian English: a qualitative study of attitudes.
Rudwick, Stephanie Inge.
Zeller, Jochen Klaus.
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This paper focuses on attitudes towards South African Indian English (SAIE), an L1 variety of English spoken in South Africa. The attitudes of the participants are considered against the backdrop of the socio-political history of this variety and its speakers, and in contrast to their attitudes to what they perceive as ‘good’ English. While the research methodology is primarily based on lengthy, semi-structured interviews with twenty young South African Indians (i.e. ingroup members), the paper also includes a discussion of some of the linguistic features of SAIE, which is mainly motivated by methodological considerations. Through an examination of SAIE wh-questions, we show that the grammar of this variety differs systematically from that of the reference variety. Using examples of these wh-questions, we elicited grammatical judgments from participants and compared these judgments to the attitudes of the participants as expressed in response to open-ended questions in interviews. On the basis of the empirical data that we obtained and analysed, we argue that the young South African Indian students who participated in our study have a profoundly ambiguous attitude towards the variety associated with their own ethno-linguistic group.
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