Academic year
2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM2620 (AF:319179 AR:168734)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The teaching "Languages ​​and Identities of South Asia" belongs to the courses of the Master's Degree Program in Languages ​​and Civilizations of Asia and Mediterranean Africa (LICAAM), Near and Middle East Study Area and Indian Subcontinent.

The course aims to provide the necessary methodological and critical tools useful for the investigation, in the specific case of South Asia, of the link between the language and the culture that is its essential expression. Starting from these assumptions, the aim of the course is to enable students to examine modern and contemporary relationships between the languages ​​of South Asia and the various cases of national identity of that region, evaluating, within the latter, what has been the creation of real states on linguistic bases.

In particular, the objectives of the course are as follows: a) to highlight the symbolic function that language and linguistic issues have taken in the creation of the modern South Asian states, b) examine what has been said in the previous point in relation to the linguistic policies and the linguistic contact of the individual cases examined. The linguistic-identity issues that characterized the modern history of the Indian subcontinent will therefore be the subject of discussion, with particular reference to the dynamics of power in their manifestations through language.
Through the attendance of the course and individual study, students will:

1. Knowledge and understanding:
- Get to know the sociolinguistic situation of the linguistic communities of South Asia regions, with particular reference to India;
- Get to know and understand the phenomena of variation and standardization related to South Asia regions, with particular reference to India.

2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
- Contextualize the problems related to different linguistic phenomena taken for example, including those related to the literary sphere, from an historical and sociolinguistic point of view, with particular reference to identity issues and linguistic policies
- Get to know how to use correctly the language and linguistic terminology in all the cases taken into consideration.

3. Ability to judge
- Develop a critical approach to the evaluation of the different cases of relationship between language and identity taken into analysis during lessons.

4. Communication skills
- Get to know how to communicate the specificities of linguistic reflection linked to identity issues, using appropriate terminology.

5. Learning skills
- Get to know how to critically consult the reference texts and the bibliography contained in them.
No preliminar knowledge required. A basic knowledge of English is helpful for the purpose of consulting additional reference sources, such as textbooks/papers on political linguistics of the south-asian region.
- Brief historical-linguistic panorama of South Asia;
- The linguistic policy of the East India Company in the first half of the 19th century;
- The origin of the "Hindi-Urdu" linguistic question: hindi-hindu-Hindustan;
- Linguistic identity and alphabet: the case of Hindi, Urdu and Panjabi;
- Problems in the definition and construction of standard varieties: purism and language academies in the case of Hindi, Urdu and Panjabi;
- The official languages of the South Asian states.
Brass, Paul R., 1974 (2005), Language, Religion and Politics in North India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hasnain, Imtiaz S., Bappa-Gupta, Sangeeta and Mohan, Shailendra (eds.), 2013, Alternative voices. (Re)searching Language, Culture, Identity... Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
King, Christopher R., 1994, One Language, Two Scripts. The Hindi Movement in Nineteenth Century North India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Milord, J., Language ideologies and the consequences of standardization, Journal of sociolinguistics, 5/4, 2001, pp. 530-555.
Simpson, Andrew (ed.), 2007, Language & National Identity in Asia, Oxford - New York: Oxford University Press.
The procedures for verifying learning will consist of a written test with multiple-choice questions and some open-ended questions.

Moreover, during the course of the lessons, students will be asked to write a short essay on a topic chosen from among those dealt with in the course. The same must be presented in oral form to colleagues alongside it with a presentation in Power-point.
Teaching in classroom with Power-point presentations and reading of authentic material in Hindi.
Kachru, Braj B., Kachru, Yamuna, Sridhar, S. N. (eds.), 2008, Language in South Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
written and oral
This programme is provisional and there could still be changes in its contents.
Last update of the programme: 02/08/2019