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Minglish: Unmarked code switching in urban Maharashtra, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1The George Washington University, 2110 G. St. NW, Washington, DC 20052 USA

Res. J. Language and Literature Sci., Volume 5, Issue (4), Pages 13-19, October,19 (2018)

Abstract

The systematic use of English words among Marathi words in speaking and writing in the western Indian state of Maharashtra in urban environments should be considered a specific phenomenon which challenges contemporary definitions in linguistics and linguistic anthropology of code switching. Like Hinglish, which is the mix of Hindi and English, Minglish, or a mix of Marathi and English, has no switch between codes. Instead, Minglish is one seamless language, albeit a different language than Marathi or English and this mix is both widely accepted and distinct from a marked use of English, reflecting Michael Meewis and Jan Blommaert's work on monolectal code switched languages in Belgium (1998). The use of Minglish as a monolectal code switched language, is distinct from a marked use of English, which is used to index aspects of an identity, such as levels of sophistication and class status. This particular unmarked mix of English and Marathi provides a window through language to see a globally integrated community that is nevertheless locally specific. The language speakers use is fluid and inextricably linked to global flows unbound to a single language that reach outside of changing contexts of what it means to be Maharashtrian and Indian.

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