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The English-Vernacular Divide: Postcolonial Language Politics and Practice

reviewed by Thomas Ricento - 2006

coverTitle: The English-Vernacular Divide: Postcolonial Language Politics and Practice
Author(s): Vai Ramanathan
Publisher: Multilingual Matters, Clevedon
ISBN: 1853597694, Pages: 143, Year: 2005
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The English language assumed a pivotal position during the Raj in India.  It separated British rulers from their subjects, but also Indians who spoke English from those who did not.  This legacy of division—between Indians who speak and are educated in and through English, and those who are educated in vernacular languages—persists to the present day in Indian society.  In this fascinating, well-written, and closely argued book, Vaidehi Ramanathan provides a nuanced analysis of how language—English and Guajarti, in this instance—is tied to class distinctions, and how these distinctions are maintained through tertiary education  in India.  She also shows some of the ways in which tertiary educational practices contest these class-based and language-linked asymmetries in an attempt to ‘bridge’ the English-Vernacular divide.   I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the complex role of language policy in (post) colonial contexts, whether in India or other parts of the... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 1, 2006, p. 70-72
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12069, Date Accessed: 9/28/2020 5:32:25 AM

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About the Author
  • Thomas Ricento
    University of Texas, San Antonio
    E-mail Author
    THOMAS RICENTO is Professor of Applied Linguistics, University of Texas, San Antonio. He has published widely in the field of language policy, politics, and ideology. His most recent publication is An Introduction to Language Policy: Theory and Method (Blackwell). Other books include Language and Politics in the United States and Canada: Myths and Realities (co-edited with Barbara Burnaby) and Ideology, Politics, and Language Policies: Focus on English (editor). He is founding co-editor (with Terrence G. Wiley) of the Journal of Language, Identity, and Education (Lawrence Erlbaum).
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