During the past two decades there has been a significant amount of research and publication concerning the sociolinguistics of South Asian languages. Language and Society in South Asia is the first major attempt to assess the impact of this new literature. It exposits the methodological and theoretical assumptions of sociolinguistic descriptions of south Asian languages, and contrasts them with the assumptions of earlier characterizations of these languages. An important feature of this book is its detailed examination of numerous schools of linguistic analysis within which most past descriptive work on South Asian languages has been carried out. This is done in language accessible both to the professional linguist and to non-linguists interested in social aspects of language use in South Asia.Among the topics treated in this book are traditional taxonomies of South Asian languages, South Asia as a linguistic area, social dialectology, bi- and multilingualism in South Asia, pidginization, creolization, and South Asian English, ethnographic semantics, and the ethnography of speaking. The work also contains an extensive bibliography of the scholarly literature pertinent to the study of South Asian languages in their social contexts.
MICHAEL C. SHAPIRO is Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington in Seattle (USA). He is the author of many studies of Hindi grammar and Indo-Aryan linguistics.HAROLD F. SCHIFFMAN is Professor of Dravidian Languages and Linguistics at the University of Washington in Seattle (USA). He is the author of Intermediate Tamil: A Self-Instructional Method, A Grammar of Spoken Tamil, A Reference Grammar of Spoken Kannada, Dravidian Phonological Systems (with Carol East-man), as well as numerous articles on Tamil and other Dravidian language.