India is the largest of the South Asian countries and English has been used there for hundreds of years. India was one of the British colonies in Asia and British administrators, army, educators, officers and missionaries used English for communication. The beginning of bilingualism occurred in 1835 when T. Macaulay proposed the creation of a new class whichwas to be “Indian in blood and colour; but English in taste, in opinion, in morals and in intellect” (Macaulay 1967). The result of this policy was that English-speaking universities were set up in 1857 and at the end of the century English became the prestige language in India.
In 1947 Indian became independent. The Indian Constitution recognizes fifteen national languages, one of them, Hindi, isthe official language and English was designated as associate official language. English has an important role as a second language. It is the main language of administration, secondary and higher education, literature, political life, commerce, the mass media, science and technology. Regarding the rivalry between English and Hindi, English has advantages over Hindi because it is supported by thenon –Hindi parts of India, mainly the south. One of the results of this rivalry is the implementation of the “three language formula” that states that education must be in the regional language, in Hindi and in English. Besides, and more important, English has great prestige in India because of the members of the elite community who control political and social resources usually communicate amongthemselves only in English. “English is felt to be the language of power, a language of prestige”(Sahgal 1991: 299). Nowadays, English has acquired more functional roles, and in the friendship and institutional domain is the main language. In the family domain English is used but there is a predominance of the mother tongue. All this demonstrates that English is part of the cultural identity ofIndia.
Indians who have British and Indian ethnic origins are called Anglo-Indians. They have English as their first language. They belong to the group of Indians who are educated at British public school and their accent is RP. However, the English commonly used in the country is the Indian-English. This is the accent of educated Indians and English is a second language.“Nativisation”
English has been enriched by the Indian Languages. This process is called nativisation. Some of the reason why this has occurred is transfer from local languages, the absence of a native group, inadequate teaching among others. There are many varieties of Indian-English due to many native languages. This has resulted in sometimes mutual incomprehension among Indians. There are cleardifferences in pronunciation, some in grammar, and in vocabulary and usage among these varieties. However, these native languages have many similarities in their phonetics; therefore, the interferences of them in English tend to be of a similar type.
British and American Influence
Although Indian English has a phonological system which is identical to RP and the word spelling, lexical items andphrases are similar to British English, the Indian language fights for finding its own identity, maintaining its characteristic stress and other phonological and grammatical features, just as a process of “nativisation” of the English language. This is why it turns hard to establish to what extent it is the result of one variety of English or another. If something has to be said, this isundoubtedly that the British influence is seen is the current use of some archaic terms (the use of the word “curd” instead of “yogurt”) and some pronunciations (the monothongisation of [and into [)due to the use of texts written by older English authors, a mark of the long lasting English dominance in the South Asian country. The preference for the British English language over...