A diachronic investigation of Hindi-English code-switching, using Bollywood film scripts

Aung Si

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Code-switching (CS) between an Indian language and (Indian) English is, and has long been, a normal feature of everyday speech in urban Indian society. Although much has been written about the status and role of English, and about the sociological variables associated with English usage in India, there have been, to date, no studies explicitly investigating changes in CS patterns over time. Bollywood movies are a rich source of information on the speech patterns of urban Indians throughout most of India's post-independence history. CS patterns in Bollywood movies (from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s) were therefore investigated in this study, by means of lexical transcripts of the dialogues between characters of equivalent age and socioeconomic status. A survey of seven movie dialogues revealed that CS can be accomplished through a range of syntactic and morphological strategies. Quantitative analyses showed a massive increase in the overall use of English over this period, a trend particularly evident among young speakers. Moreover, the complexity of CS increased over the period under consideration, with 'alternations' at clause boundaries increasing in frequency at the expense of single-word 'insertions'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)388-407
    JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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