10-JUL-2019: Dr Rizwan Ahmad delivers lecture in AMU
Aligarh, July 10: Dr Rizwan Ahmad (Associate Professor, Qatar University) today delivered a lecture on 'Indexicality, Identity and Language Change: Case study of Urdu' and delineated polyphony of Urdu language and how it invokes different symbolic meanings for different generations of Indians. The lecture organised by the Department of Linguistics, Aligarh Muslim University was held at the Arts Faculty Lounge.
"The generation born before the Partition of India in 1947 does not view Urdu as a symbol of Muslim identity," said Dr Ahmad.
He pointed out that a frequency distribution of the distinctive Urdu sounds, which is quite comparable among Muslims and Hindus, further demonstrates that the use of these sounds is not indexical of Muslim identity.
Dr Ahmad elaborated that cross-generational study involving both Muslims and Hindus shows that different generations assign different meanings to Urdu.
"Unlike the older generation, Muslim youth do not identify themselves with Urdu. A study of the Urdu sounds in the speech of Muslim youth further demonstrates that they are losing three of the ?ve sounds that have been considered to be the Shibboleth of the Urdu language," he said.
The transformation in the symbolic meanings of Urdu is reflective and constitutive of the socio-political changes that Muslims have undergone in the twentieth century, said Dr Ahmad while discussing 160 years of Urdu language history.
"The change in the literacy practices in India also reinforced the shift in the symbolic meanings of Urdu as the adoption of the Devanagari script to write Urdu by many Muslims led to a big transformation," he emphasised.
Speaking on the use of Urdu in Bollywood, Dr Ahmad presented his empirical study which investigates the issue of language change in Bollywood that academics and non-academics have both noted in recent years.
Examining Urdu elements, as represented by the iconic sounds in Bollywood songs for understanding phonetic norms of pronunciation, he discussed that the issue is socio linguistically significant since it involves the larger issues of the transformation of linguistic norms that the decline of Urdu pronunciation in Bollywood underlines.
He pointed out that the old generation of Bollywood writers, lyricists, playwrights, and music directors, who were educated in the Urdu language is now being replaced with a new generation of writers who have been educated in the Hindi and English linguistic traditions.
Presiding over the lecture, Prof Mohammad Sajjad (Department of History) said that Television is playing a major role in the country by setting trends in the spoken language as it has a passive audience.
"Anchors in television news bulletins use several mispronunciations regularly and a large section of people who follow them end up pronouncing certain words in the wrong way," he added.
Giving a brief introduction of the guest; Prof S Imtiaz Hasnain (Chairman, Department of Linguistics) spoke about Dr Ahmad's research on representation of dialects in writing, orthographic practices, Muslim identity in Delhi and changing linguistic norms in Bollywood songs among other topics.
Dr Mohammad Jahangeer Warsi proposed the vote of thanks.
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