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Contributions to the Sociology o/ Language 54

The Politics of Language Purism

Editor Joshua A. Fishman

Edited by ti. Jernud T Id Bjorn Michael J. Shapiro


Mouton de Gruyter Berlin . New York

Mouton de .Gruyter Berlin . New York




Language purisrn 1. V. Neustupn y

as a type of language correction

The texture of languagc purism: an introduction


The linguistic and social dimensions E. A nnamalai Subject index

of purism


Bjorn H. Jernudd Preamble


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This volume consists of the contributions of political scientists, linguists, and scholars of literature to a meeting' on the politics of language purism.' The rich texture of language purisrn is reflected in both the variety of approaches that the papcrs take to open up perspective= on purisrn and the variety of concrete situations that the papers describe. Revelation of discursive practices enables Shapiro and Henningscn to relate language purism to changing relations of power, authority and control between Self and the Other. Weinstein elucidates thc spccific political, social, and economic intercsts behind the institutions of Francophonie on a global basis. Karimi-Hakkak, Musa, Park, and Wexler describe puristic projects in Persian, Bengali, and Korean, and in Soviet dictionary representations of Yiddish, Dungan, and Bclorussian. Two literary scholars, Wilson and Dissanayake, discuss, respectively, the problem of the poeticalty pure in American poetry and the problern of lack of compatibility between languagc purism and novel writing in Sinhalese. In another titerature paper, Hsu demonstratcs how language as a source of alienation is reflected in recent Taiwanese fiction. The volurne closes with two theoretical contributions by tinguists. Neust upny deals with purism in discourse as acts of correction of inadequacies, and sceks to relate puristic idiorns and ideological purism to purism in discourse. Annamalai privileges assertion of identity of Sclf in his exploration of the relationship between rhc Jinguistic nnd the social in purisrn, an understanding similar to that of Shapiro and Henningsen. In this introduction, 1 wish to give the reader a sense of the variety of behaviors and statements that the meeting dealt with as the participants sought to come to grips with each others' various understandings of the politics of language purismo At the sarne time, 1 want to anticipate sorne of the concrete dimensions of analysis that the papcrs offer. Together, the examples and their possible analyses (or at lea'st sirnilarities of description and dornain) may help to rcveal what can be studied as "la nguagc purism."

2 Bjorn H. Jernudd

Tire texture of language purism: an introduction


A concrete example of purism is Ihe Editorial Comrnent in NewsJune 4, 1983, reproduced from The Korea Herald and titled "Linguistic MiJieu": Language is the soul of the nation as the crystalization of its inherited culture and living modus. SO WP. can feel the breath of other people through verbal contacto ... This compels the contemporary generation to further refine our lingual assetj ... nine associations of Korean linguists and writers have jointly recornmended that the govemment se! up a 'National Korean Language Research Institute' (to engage in) comprehensive research on orthographic rules, standard language, loanwords and Romanization of Korean personal and place names, among others. These are required, to purify our language (of] ... words that betray the cause of purity and decency' in our Iinguistic expression. We are not inclined to be chauvinistic at all .... The job of purifying our language does not belong to linguists aloner We, all using it, must be participants in the work.


Korea presents a case of contemporary purism (for details, see Park, this volume: 113) but purism in talk and action can be seen to occur at different times in history. For example, since the early spread of Islam in the last miJIennium with its overwhclming impact on society, Iran has sought to regulate the amount of Arabie borrowing into the Persian language, just as Iran in modem times seeks to harness the best of European and American technology and thought through the systematic correction of the Persian language (see Karimi-Hakkak, this volume:8 1). Or when a seculnriz ing Turkey modernized in the 1920s, Ataturk embarked on a massive state-led campaign to replace what was Arabic and Persian in Turkish in order to rid Turkey of what he regarded as undesirab.y traditional and therefore an impedment to secularization and Westernization. lronically, this task proved to be so massive and potentially clisruptive of communication that after a first surge to purge the lexicon and to introduce the Latin alphabet and therefore I1CW spelling, he eventually had to endorse a point of view that allowed lirnitless openness to, and therefore incorpora tion of, words frorn Arabic as we 1\ as other languages into the Turkish language. Atatrk and his language managers justified this "new policy of moclera tion" both by ernpirical clairns and by the formulation of new theory: they declared Turk ish to be the source of all languagcs (Heyd 1954:33-4).

It is in periods of transition such as the period of early moderniza} tion in Turkey that puristic responses are especially Iikely to arise':' A' clearly defined dorninance by a High Language of the Great Tradition, god-given, is eroded by a mobilization of colloquial language and borrowing of Ioreign usages into the language, to accompany deliberate modernization or contact-induced socio-economic and/or political change. A period of generaJly agreed standard s for the language of literature and public usage would follow the mobilization/change period as societies claim success of standardization and national consolidation. Later yet, a period of accommodation of marginal groups of people into broader society (i.e., of the so-called minorities, rural "deviant ", dialect speakers, imrnigrant laborers, refugees) may again upset "standards." In the former period of transition into modernization, some pecple rnay feel empowered by knowledg bestowed l,y a Past to protecq the cornmunity and language from the New and the Foreign as well as to protect their own positions; in the latter period of accommodation of marginal groups and "democratization," sorne seek privilege in their construction of a different Future while others brace to resist further .~ -erosion of cornmunal values and standards of language. In either case, ''if' purism may provide the appropriate political gestures of expression and \\ S evaluative constraints on language correction. Purism" may constitute the ideology ~that provides a source for adjustment s!rategies to resist or _.}' replace exogenous language norms' with the indigenously self-asserting ~ ' in periods of communal or national resistance" and self-empowerment, \ ..Y- ~ or to uphold norms felt to be threatened by erosion t..ithin the society. ., <\" ~ ~ Thus, purism occurs at particular historical times lo defend, de9f' marcate, and protect tha t which constitutes SeW" Such times could be periods of rapid social change, of perceived external pressur' on the cornmunity, of national authentificatio,n and consolidation, of class an ethnic conflicfover resource distribution, or of "war cry." Purism may be more or less explicit and it would take different forrns'under different conditions of historical time, and social and economic circumstance.

, ." ..J'/.



language purism as a scholarly project

In the most general terms and in essential agreemcnt with Paul Wexler (1974; and as projected i: this volume:141), Annamalai (1979:36) defines purismlin the following way :


Biorn H. Jernudd

The texture of language purism: an introduction

Purism in language then may be defined in terms of the opening and closure of sources for enrichment. ... Purism is the opening of the native sources and cJosure of the non-na tive sources .... Though the native sources are open in general, the dialectal and Iiterary sources are often treated differently .... The opening and cJosure can be seen as applied to materials and to models. Models are the derivational, compounding and syntactic patterns. The factors which lead to purism may be, theoretically, internal or external to the language ... More in.portant than any structural consideration is the attitude of speakers toward native and non-native elernents .. l. The attitude ... is detennined by socio-cultural, political and historical Iactors which are external to language, There are certain conditions sorne or all of which must be piesent for the puristic regulations to emerge in any language [e.g., when the) socialorder is u ndergoing change ~ith power rela tions redefined. The not acts factors and conditions which Annamalai postulates are sources of necessarily negativo evaluation of speech in puristic correction in discourse. (On thr- questio n of negativo evaluation, see also Neustupny , this volume:21 J). While the extra-lnguistic factors' and conditions that give rise to p-rrism, conscquences in languages usage of correction of language systcms beca use of purisrn, and puristic idioms have receivcd so me attention in the literature, there is no sociolinguistic theory of purism that connects extra-linguistic motivation and dif-

in the inclusion and exclusion as weU as the dissociation and association of forms and meanings in elaboration of a group decision to identify and distinguish itself. In other words, the existence of a language is an existential 'project' ... a sociological 'value.' Ray here argues for balance in language (with reference to standardization) in that language must have configuration as well as demarcation, that there must be cultivation of intercommunication between sections of the people, and there must be change and adaptation to other languages.? In this introduction, 1 shall cite manifestations of purism of language that arise under widely different conditions, drawing primarily on data found in clippings frOT'1 newspapers in Sri Lanka, the state of Maharashtra in India, and Australia." My most important purpose is to provide these data qua data that require description and explanation under a heading of the study of purismo With the help of tl-esc data, I shall also attempt to convey the sensc' of the meeting that language purism must not be dismissed as always "bad " in its causes and effects . because of experience with particular social and political movements that justly deserve condemnation. Language purisrrp can be understood as a corrective to"'systematic inadequacies that particular individuals note in language communication. Under congruent conditions, purism 'can be understood as an art iculation of changes in relations between Sel and Others in the rnediurn of language,


ferential interests, ideologics and idiorns with Iinguistic outcome through correction acts in discourse. The applcation of a correctio theory t Neustupny 1978 and this volurne: 211 ; J ernudd and Neustupny 1987) to purists' language management may provide one approach to constructing a sociolinguistid theory of purismo "Puristic idiomst' and "ideologies of purismj" make IIp t he expression ami content of discourse about language. Interestingly, conternporary thought deals centralIy with discourse as a simultaneous rneans and end of human organization ;l1H1 thought.? To this extent, a theory is availa ble for the study of purism ~s rliscourse. as explicatcd by Shapiro in the foUowing paper. Studying purism as discourse about language enables its scholars to place puristir ally informed correctives in discourse, i.e., in languagc use, in the relevan! contcxts of peoples' intercsts, to quote {ay (1961 :228): a language never ex ists in the same sense that any material object or an individual animal exists, it exists only as a sense of direction

Observations on Sinhalese language purism in Sri Lanka today

In the last forty years, dismantling colonialism has entailed circurnscribing use of the colonial languages and developing endogenous national languages - as a matter of national policy and substantial government intervention by language planning - only lo see these sarne foreign languages creep back in with First World products, technology and pop culture. In Sri Lanka, as in sorne other post-colonial countries." the government decided to bring English back into publicly sponsc-ed and subsidised dornains in order to supporl industrial and commercial developrnent. The renewed salie nce givcn to English as one of Sri Lanka's measures lo support economic growth brought renewed salicncc also to Sinhalese.


Bjom JI. Jemudd

The texture oflanguage purism: an introduction A letter under the heading, "What has happened to the Official Language Department?" tDivaina May 21, 1983) attacks the Offieial Language Department for its inefficiency in prornoting Sinhalese, whieh is the o fficia l language of Sri Lanka. The writer, who supplied no name, says that the Department is virtually defunet:

Newspaper c\ippings reflect sorne aspects of the continuing need to rnanage English aequisition and use in a very cornplex and conflictridden indigenous language situation. One aspect of this complexity concerns the relationship between English ami Sinhalese, the majority population's native language. A government minister was reported in the Sinhala newspaper Dtvaina (in 1983) to have pronounced afear of English overrunning Sinhalese." It is a report of the proceedings of a function organized by the English literature association

Even if it existed, it does not have enough powers to implernent the Official Language Aet. No explanations are caLled for from the heads of the departments who do not send out official correspondence in the official language .... It has become almost a joke to work in Sinhalese in government departments. English is essential to obtain employment. Those who come from the rural areas and know only Sinhalese can not get their business done in the government offices. The writer blames the politicians for not protecting the native language. "Even the Buddhist monks are silent ubout the fate of the Sinhalese language," laments the anonymous Sinhalese pr-triot. Piyadasa Velikannage in the Sunday edition of Divaina (March 4, 1983) under the headline "A Nation without a Goal" angrily notes that "there is nobody today who speaks for the Sinhalese language and Buddhism." As a Sinhalese nationalist. he also links the fate of the Sinhalese race to the fate of Sinhalese language and Buddhism: If the Sinhalese language, destroyed, the Sinhalese race body talks about the English nation's attention is drawn to Buddhism, anJ Buddhist eulture are will inevitably becornr hclpless. Everylanguage, not about the Sinhalese. The learn English, not to learn Sinhalese.

of the Royal College of Colombo, which is the leading elite school in Sri Lanka. The report has a very revealing headline, the translation of which is: "We will not allow English to be a threat to the Sinhalese language-Minister of Trad.e." The relevant sections of the report translate as folJows:

"We wil1 not allow the English language to be a threat to our mother tongue, the Sinhalese," said the Minister of Shipping and Trade Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali yesterday ... we should look at the world with a broadened perspcctive and that the need of learning the English language is felt ;II over the world. Mr. Athulathmudali also pointed out that President Jayawardene had emphasized the need for giving a prominent place to English. He further said that we alJ should undcrstand the reasons as to why we need English. The Minister liad to assure his audience that English would not be allowed to be a threat to the Sinhala language, Obviously, it is the poliey of the government to expand English education. The government may well support the acquisition of English in schools, and sehooling benefits sorne more than others, but it is unclear how these facts relate to the use of Sinhalese and English in everyclay discourse. What is clear is that there is a perception of a threat by at least one segrnent of Sri Lankan society. This perception is salient enough and attributed to or expressed by people who can excite ministerial comment. These people espouse an intr rest focussed on the Sinhalese language as a" symbol of Sinhalese identity, hopos and aSI'iI .. tions both in the context of the Sinhala-Tamil race relations conflict and in the context of modernization. In the latter, the conventional nationalist argurnent that "Western culture," normally undcrstood to include the English language, thrcatr ns indigenous culture and values continues to be he Id at least by nationalist-oriented Sinhala Buddhists.

The writer argues against the need for English as a prerequisite for Sri Lanka's modernization. Only "selfish hypocrites" can sav that English is essential to gain modern knowledge in the technical and scientific fields. "Did the Russians and the Japanese achieve their scientific and technical progress through English?" asks an angry Welikannage. His answer is a clear "No." Professor Ediriweera Sarachchandra's article, titled "The Sinhalese rallen from the Sky ' iDivaina, May 22, 1983) IS a critique of those Sinhalese people who are allcged to have disregarded the national culture. language, and other native legacies. Sarachchandra rerninds the reader how, in the post, the urban upper classes who had "irnitated English custorns and manners, and spoke in English among thernselves" were ridiculed by national revivalists. He also points out. how, as a

Bjorn H. Jemudd

The texture of language purism: an introduction

result of the sentiments of national pride generated by nationalism among the Sinhalese people sorne people bogan "to give up foreign name s, to wear national dress, and to use the Sinhalese language." But, according to Sarachchandra, this national revivalisrn was confined only to the Sinhalese educated middle classcs, such as school teachers, native doctors, and Buddhist monks: The native capitalist c\ass did not have a native cultural heritage. Nor did it have proper cultural roots. Being a mercantile c\ass, they remained loyal to the British Empire. They accepted English narnes and sent their children to missionary schools in order to teach them the English language and European manners.

mento Yet, every year the Sinhalese language purists make use of Kurnaratunga's death anniversary in their crusade for a "pure and uncorrupt" Sinhalese language. The last paragraph of the article carries precisely this message: One way of honouring his efforts to improve the Sinhalese language is to leam, and to teach others, how to speak and write tire Sinhalese language correctly!

Sarachchandra's essay appears to be a veiled attack on the present rulers in Sri Lanka , who are subject to severe criticism by certain nationalist elements fUI the neglect of national culture, including the Sinhalese language. Yet, the Sinhalese are themselves a dominant group of people on the island of Sri Lanka, and although in conflict with the Tarnils, self-empowering. This Sinhalcse language d cfcnsc, inde cd. chauvinisrn, provided mornentum for puristic ideology and discoursc. It is not as powerfully articulated or intensely presented in conternporary Sri Lanka as it was a few decades ago , but the voices of explicit Sinhalese language purism are still heard, An article in Divaina (March 2, 1983) with the title "Thc Great Scholar who Revived Sinhalese Literature" celcbrates the 39th anniversary of the death of Kurnaratunga Munidasa - the pioneer of the Sinhalese language purist movcrnent Hela Hawula.

In an interview in the Sunday edition of Divaina (March 13, 1983), Munidasa Senerath Yapa, a well known Sinhalese writer, blames those who do not use the Sinhalese language correctly. He is especially critical of radio newscasters who do not use the language in a grarnrnatically "correct" manner. As much as a legal systern is essential to the society, grammar is essential for the correct use of a language:
The anti-social elernents consider the legal system as a constraint to them. Similarly, grarnrnar is an impediment to the traitors to the language. It is such traitors who say 'no' to grarnmar. There is no civilized langr age in the world without grammar, and it is difficult to understand why some people claim that the Sinhalese language does not need a grammar? Munidasa argues that the reason for the confusin in the Sinhalese language today is that people who do not know Sinhalese properly are working in Sinhala. He blarnes the radio cornrnentators for popularizing what he calls "solecism'tbe gives the English word l). Then, he lists Sinhalese words popularized by radio newscasters and which he considers grarnma tically incorrect. One cause for the weakness in the knowledge of Sinhalese language arnong the school children, argues Munidasa, is the use of grarnma tical1y incorrect worcls on the radio. If indeed there is such a gap between Sinhalese-speaking children's usage, educational practice, and radio exposure, Munidasa rnay well ha ve a cc.ntrlbution to ma kc which, with the help of puristic idiom, may mobilize and make available to individuals correctives to remove unrnotivated differentiation in language use on the basis of one systematic view of grarnmatical norrn. His action may also assist systernatic corre ction by teachers, tex tbook authors and other educational language managers in native language teaching. The puristic movernen t .provides a source of evaluation of discou rse in a particular grarn matical system. Depending 011 the relationship of this grarnrna tically explicit evaluation ':l~.' tI') ccrtainties or insccuritics in

He devcloped the languagc, explained fically, interpretcd created a mcaningful The article is written

Sinhalese language to the level of a scholarly the grammar of the Sinhalese language scientithe c1assical Sinhalcsc li crature correctly, and children's Iiterature. in the kind of Sinhalese idiorn that Mr.

Kurnaratunga developed more than six decades ago. Kurnaratunga advocated the revival of c\assical and (Jure Sinhalese idiorn. The fIela fIawula id iorn was popular arnong certain sections of the Sinhalese nationalist elite Ior some time, but it never becarne popular on a mass scale, basically bccause of its rig id ity in adhering to the grarnrnatical structure of the classir :11 "pure" Sinhalese. Dissanayake (this volume: 18S) dernonstratcs how ultimatcly only approachcs based in a realistic appreciation of hcteroglossia wil1 succced, at le ast in literary develop-


Biorn H. J ernudd

The texture of language purism: an i/ltrod~ction


current usage, it may or mny not help people to communicate. Purism may rationalize usages to ennble their systematic incorporation into a stable language systern that is acccssible to most people at minimal additional cost to individuals or institutions. On the othcr hand, it may reinforce sociolinguistic differentiation exclusively or primarily in favor of those people who hold the puristic ideology in social, poltical, or religious opposition tn others. Through this latter effect, purism

through the introduction of competing overt norms of evaluation which are based in narrow ideological group interest opposed to rnodern or integrated society. The idea of preservation and protection of the had been a considera bly appealing political and relation to Tarnil as well as in reJation to English. English resurgence. Then, as now, one challenge Sinhalese language cultural slogan, in It returned with the to Self (Sinhalese)

hinders social cornmunication. The teaching of Sinhalese has constantly been under the critical scrutiny of the purists, and they have been very aggressive in attacking Janguage curricula in schools and school text-books for want of what they consider the corrrct Sinhalese graminar. The newspaper Silumina (May 29, J 9.83) prints an arlicle titled "School Text Books that Corrupt the Language Knowlcdge of Students" by Mr. A.A. Gunatilleke, a lecturer at a teachers' training college. Gunatilleke is obviously of the Hela Hawula school of language purists, and therefore, he writes in the Hela Hawula idiorn. The writer examines the Sinhalese language school tex t-books published by the government. . He starts out with a patrio tic note. Sri Lanka is the only country, he says, where the Sinhalese language exists. The Sinhalese language has its own unique characteristics, traditional and cultural, inherited' Irom thc past. Therefore, if the school chiJdren are allowed to learn the language through text books that dsregard those unique features of the language, that would ultimately contributc to corrupt and confuse the national, cultural and .traditionbound sentiments of future genera tions,

frorn Anathcr (English) may be met in ways that reproduce meeting the challenge from another Other (Tamil), And if SinhaJese purism had focussed attention on one relationship, that attention is inevitably deflected to the other.




In the Indian state of Maharashtra, there was a debate in newspapers about purity of the Marathi language during the period of clipping (Novernber 1983 to February 1984). thid debate about purism brings into explicit focus the rnatter of balance and openness of the language systern under conditions of language contact and rapid change in social cornmunication. In a letter to the editor (The Maharaslura Times, Novernhcr 7, 1983), rnany exarnples are given of Hindi words and phrases found in Marathi. Exarnples are quoted frorn the answer papers of graduate students and the writer cornrnents that many of thern are not even awarc that they write such a "rnuddled" Marathi. He offers certain hypotheses for the unknowing influence of Hindi on Marathi. "As students are exposed to Hindi through rnovies, radio, and television alJ the time, their Marathi gets highly influenced by Hindi even without their knowledge.' He expresses a deep concern over this ~'bad .hybrid " Marathi and feels that this problern needs serious attention. Another writer tThe Maharash tra Times, Novernber 18, 1983) responds that "Ianguages do come in contact and do influence cach other which cannot be stopped or arrested. Once cannot drearn of keeping language pure." He cites many influences of English on Marathi on various Iinguistic levels: vocabulary, direct-indirect constructions. relative clauses, etc. He states that not only these other languages, but different dialects of Marathi are influencing t11C' Marathi language, He cites the context of Dalit Iiterature in which new words and ex-

He gves a series of examples of gramrna ticaJ mistakes in the Ianguage textbooks. There are instances of the subject and the predica te not grammatically corresponding to each other, grarnrnatically incorrect use of cornparatives and supcrlatives and rnistakes in spelling and punetuation. What is seen as "incorrect" is relative to one's norrns of evaluation. Gunatille+e's and the textbook authors' and users' norms rnay not coincide, but therc may be room Ior negotiation which may benefit the students. Explicit criticism of language frorn a puristic point of view may provide an opportunity for explicit . language correction in the interest of opening the language for widening groups of Sinhalese speakcrs. But reaching into the past may also derail motivated changes in the languago to cause disruption of usage

12 Bjom H. Jemudd The texture of language purism: an introduction 13

pressions unknown to certain speakers of Marathi are becoming widely known and assimilated in the Marathi language. He also states that Hindi is being influenced by Marathi, and gives as an example Bombaiyya Hindi, a variety of Hindi spoken in Bornbay, the capital city of Maharashtra, where Marathi is the dominant codeo AII the languages irr contact are constantly inlluencing each othcr: the changes taken place in languages in contact situations are perIectly natural and healthy. However, there should be a lirnit to this flexibility and especially writers should be careful about purity of language, The debate continued (The Maharashtra Times, Decernber 8, 1983): "lt is very hard to understand where the boundary of pure Marathi ends and how flexible' the pure language should be." This writer says that attitudes should change and those Marathi speakers who do not have a very good command of Marathi should be givcn encouragement and complete freedom to write in thcir less au'Iientic Marathi. A mor tolerant attitudq towards "pure Marathi" would encourage more people to write. Opening the pul-le ano writtcn norrns of Marathi to a\low hitherto proscribed usage will not make Marathi any less "authcntic" bccause these proscribed usages are Marathi in any case. The proscribcd forms of usage originate in the use of low and vulgar language in Dalit protest literature, in the use of "dialect" (and dialect is by deFinition an authentic variety of a language), and in the fact that sorne individuals do not have a very good cornrnaud of Marathi, presumably because of their lower standard of education. Marathi authenticity is not challenged by open ing the language to accommodate these various usages. I1owever, Marathi authenticity is challenged by Hindi. Closing Marathi nonns to Hindi would meet this challengc. In the Indian linguistic federation, HindiJ is both a regional (sta te) language on a par with Marathi and it is a union Ianguage both de jure and de [acto (sharing that role with English). The very existence in the Indian federation of the sta te of Maharashtra and its delimitation in physical space vis a vis other states to a considerable dcgree depends on the demarcation of a Marathi language vis vis I-1indi and on the location in physical space of speakers of Marathi who idcntify themselves as su ch. That sorne people are sensitive to Hindi influence on Marathi is therefore hardly surprising, nor is it surprising that Marathi purism argues for closure of Marathi to Hindi language influcnce 01" any kind.


on Australian


In Australia, purism is articulated in the entire society's search for authenticity in language (and in other arcas, including history). Australia is in search of a Self. Participants in the project create purity by discovering a self for themselves and for their society. A major theme during the period of study of newspapers (late 1969 - early 1970)7 involved demarcating an Australian English, vis a vis both the forrncrly dorninant British English models and the contemnorarily thrcatening, yet admired, American language. . Broadcast language is noted by thel public ear in Australia just as in Sri Lanka and Maharashtra. The Australian Broadcasting Cornmission's Standing Committee on Spoken English is the arbiter of pronunciation for the public radio and TV systern. The cornmittee meets every threc months, Two of its rne mbers are university professors of English, the third is the Director of News, and the fourth is dubbed the "custodian of correct day-to-day pronunciaticn on the ABC." According to the latter (The Australian, October 24, 1969), the cornmittee's guidelines are directed towards "accepted educated Australian usage." If newscasters get "too colloquial," she says, people call up to cornplain. The committee helps the broadcasting personnel find an acceptable balance between Australian English vernacular usage and the ernerging norrn for public speaking, hclping to crea te the latter in the process." In spite of the influence of the cornrnittee and public radio/TV on pronunciation, a letter to the editor in The Age (4 December, 1969) laments "that the standard has so much deteriorated" in radio newsreaders' sessionsr'The writer had earlier sent letters to eight prvate radio stations, and received replies frorn four which "claimed it was impossible to enhance the standard, implying that it was, in Iact, word perfect." The other four had ignored his letters. He charged that diction is the problem. He refers to himself as "one ... who speaks, reads and understands 'The Queen's English" and thus makcs explicit the language norm on which he based his evaluation of radio/TV language. "The Queen's English" used to be the public norm of speaking in Australia. It was the norm taught and acquired in adolescence and early adulthood mainly through school. Some schools taught it more effectively than others. However, the norm was itself so articulated as to normally unmistakably identify the Australian to an Englishma n. Today's emerging Australian English norm is motivated


Bjom H. J emudd

The texture ollpnguage purism: an introduction


by the vemacular that most people born in Australia acquire as they grow up. Australian vcrnacular usage has broad colloquial acceptance but only towards the end of the 1960s did it start to be generally acccptable rol' public spenk ing. The news of a weckly class for overseas students at the Univcrsity of New South Wales "in Strine" triggered a strong reaction precisely along the linos of divergent adherence to these two alternative norms. A Mr. Bates clairns (Tire Australian, 8 Novernber, 1969) that foreign students' main problems are the neutral vowel and the unaecented syllable that characterize Strine. They come here expecting us to speak like a nation of BBC announcers and their first contact with Strine classics like 'Ernrna Chisit' and 'Gloria Soame' bewilders thern. Radio Australia announcers aren't Strine types, They've all got British accents .... We must accept that Strine is Australian .... Mr. Bates believes that Australians must Iinally drop the idea that British plum-in-themouth style is the only correct way to speak, lnstead of taking over BBC English we should start exporting Strine. [The article ends with a footnote:] assprad - houseproud; pazeyouenna - pay as you enter; Ernrna Chisit - how much is it; Gloria Soame glorious home. A correspondent replies (in The Australian with the suggestion that

AII over the English-speaking world, Strine is recognised as a joke. The Oxford Dictionary (5th Pocket Edition) defines Strine as 'the name given to comic tra nsliteration of Australian speech.' Thc irnportant word is 'cmic,' and so Mr. Bates does seem to havc missed the poin t. Mr. Bates has not missed the point but perhaps he should not have used the name "Strine" to refer to the kind of Australian speech as kept the author of this paper from using the telephone Ior two years after his first arrival in the country. The spelling norm is ex plicit and can therefore easily be used to define Australian English as different from British English. A chango of spelling norm served to liberate and to demarcate the Australian language from dependence on England.? The period of newspaper study begins with the announcernent of a speUing reform in the Srate of Victoria (The Age, October 6, 1969): From nex t year ~ta te school students will be taught to speU words such as 'color' and 'honor' without an 'OUR' ending. And in another spelling change the 'IZE' ending will be dropped in favor of 'ISE.' The changes have been made to simplify spelling. [The] Education Oepartment has declared a two-year 'amnesty' period to allow for the changeover. In this period no child will be penalised for using either version. But this particular spelling change held the me aning for sorne people of a reorientation of dependency rather than of assertion of self. 11\ a letter to the newspaper (The Age, October 9, 1969) a writer asks: what right has the Victorian Oepartment of Education to change the spelling of 1349 words in the English language? We speak English in this country [so] therefore why should OUT spelling be changed to follow the American pattem? He also claims that the spelling change will make for a "wider gap between State and prvate school education" and that as a result "this [new] spelling ... [will ] be considered the uneducated way to spell." Unless the new spelling finds endorsement arnong the groups of people who have privileged access to positions of power in society, the spelling reform may enhance existing or projected sociolinguistic differentiation in Australia by introducing yet one more of its indicators. The ultimate success of the spelling reform depends, thus, on the acceptance of the new spelling norm by all educational institutions

we export Mr. Bates ... to live with the Cockneys, from whom most of his Strine rubbish has been culled.

Another letter, signed "Malaysian student , St. Lucia, Qld," seriously suggests that should I speak Strine at horne, people will question my credibility, [and] cannot recall any dif'Ficulty in understanding rny lecturers .... Maybe it's because they speak good English. Afferbeck Lauder (Alistair Morrison), author of Let Stalk Strine, Nose Tone Untumed,joined the debate "in the true spirit of Australian mateship," springing "lo the defence of Ron Bates." Oon't blame him for Strine - "it is entirely rny invention." (In a letter in The A ustralian , 25 Novernber 1969) This peculiar speech is a stereotyped Australian idiorn, yet, it endorses the Australian vernacular by its cutting humor. And he added,

16 Bjorn H. Jemudd The texture of language purism: an introduction 17

which in turn, as the writer suggests, c\epenc\s on the abanc\onment of an English oricnted language norrn in favor of the crnerging Australian one as the prcferred public speaking style for graduates of the prvate schools. In the abse nce of an Australian ethos that ernbraces the same , public speaking norrn, this new state school spelling norm may reinforce cxisting sociolinguistic stratification, signifying social and educational inequalities. There is sensitivity and resistance to American influence. Especial1y names are noted ami evaluatec\. Narnes chnracterize an Australian language and incorprate judgement of identity. For example, Australia "adopted the name 'dollar' very happily" following the currency refonn, as a letter to the editor of Tlte Australian (October 23, 1969) notes. But a suggestion that a 50 cents coin be called a "halfdollar" brought [orth two letters tThe Australian, October 27 and 29, 1969), one declaring this "the most repulsive suggestion ... that we should use American terrns ... " ancl the other declaring in agreement that there are "Australian-style " terms available such as, "florin and crown." The Australian language purisrn Iorrns part of a socially, politically, and artistically comprehensive project which redefines Australia 's relationship to Britain in Australia's search of a unique history and independence of idcntity. Finding an authentic Australian language gives rise to a purisrn that takes the form of rejecting what constituted the norrns that emu la ted British-oriented ideals ra ther than the form of positive identification and endorserncnt of desirable vernacular expression. In fincling alternativcs to what has be en rejectecl, it runs the risk of bcing seen to faU into new dependency. The case of the coins shows how even the olcl English can be reappropria ted in deIinition and defense of Australian English to resist American Englishl

Conclucling words
The language purism meeting brought together political scientists, literary scholars, ancl linguists. Thc data in this introduction show how purism politicizes language in discoursS and as c1iscourse in order to open and to close the linguistic medium and wha t its use and users represent. Purism epitornizes what is political in language and in ~ linguistics. The political scicntists' papers in this volume ha ve openecl

a debate not only about the legitirnization of meanings through their stuc\ies of purism but also about the legitirnization of boundaries and therefore centers of concem of scholarly disciplines. This is evident in the c\ifference between the c\iscursive approaches that Shapiro and Henningsen take to political science anc\ to purisrn, as cornpared to Weinstein's institutional approach. It is rny conviction that knowledge about purism will accrue precisely because of these kinds of tensions between approaches to the study of seerningly equivalent behaviors, statements (idiorns and ideologies), and thoughts. The discursive approaclr in political science and the contemporary hurnanities has much in common with the techniques and even goals of study of literature. There is a difference comparable to that among the political scientists between the approaches that Oissanayake and Wilson take in this volume to the problerns of purism in novel-writing and poetry, respectively, and, for example, Hsu's critical approach to the boc\y of Taiwanese writing. The forrner focus on purism as a problern of formation of the novel and poetry, the latter focuses on purism as a problern of reference in a particular body of literaturc. The multiplicity of approaches will bring us knowledge. Clearly there are gains to be had in cooperation between political scientists and literary scholars; but above all, there are gains to be had in the literary study of purism, especiaUy because there are so much data that are suitec\ to techniques of literary analysis both in literary texts and in texts of puristic idiorn and ideology. There is also an obvious need for papers that combine c\escription and analysis in the manner of Karirni-Hakkak's exposition of the case of Persian (this volume:81). It is obviously the linguists' job to provide the descriptive linguistic details of language purism! Wexler has devoted much of his career to" tl1is task, anc\ his work benefits this volu me as wel!. Park and Musa adc\ depth to the linguistic details of purism and also put these details in their institutional-linguistic contexts. Neustupny and Annamalai raise a key problern in contemporary linguistics. The problern is how to model, measure, and eventually explain the link that undoubtedly exists between talk about language and use of language by the individuat Political scientists may explicate the politicization of language and its institutions, literary scholars may explicate genres and ecologies of literary activity, but linguists are obliged to connect the Iorrners' knowledge about texts and contexts with language use in discourse! feople project puristic ideologies and puristic idiorn on discourse, but hoJ does puristic thought, opinion and talk ha ve an effect on language use?


Bjorn H. Jemudd

The texture 01 language purism: an introduction References Annamalai, 1979


l. Thc papers in this volurnc werc presentcd lo a meeting at the East-Wcst Center in Scptcrnber 1985. 1 convened the meeting in cooperation with rny co-chair, Michacl Shapiro , to discuss the politics of languagc purismo We had directed the pnrticipants to come prepared to contribute answers lo especially the foUowing qucst ions in thc study of languagc purism: Under what condilions do authenticity-seeking, puristic rnovernents with effecls on literary languages arise? Who are the players? What are the outcomes? What is the rhetoric? 2. I arn referring hcre lo Foucault's irnpact , Michael Shapiro , my co-chair of the meeting, presents a political scientist's perspective on purism from a Foucaultian perspective in his paper in lhis volume (p. 21). 3. Cf. Manfred Henningsen (this volume:31) on how "the 'empowerment of a people's Self can derail into the overpowerment of the Other" 4. Newspaper clippings are selected from papers wr it: en for the Projcct on Modernization and Language Development at the East-West Center by Bjorn H. Jernudd, Monsur Musa, K.S. Rajyashree , Elizabcth Thuan and 1. Uyangoda. For newspaper sources and method, see Jernudd and Thuan (1980). 5. For example , Tanzania, see Kharnisi (1987). 6. Divaina is one of several Sri Lankan newspapers studied during the period March to May 1983 for debate on language and mention of languagc problerns. For a fuJler reporl on ncwspaper clippings dealing with English in Sri Lanka, see lernudd and Uyangoda (1987). These notes do not rnake independenl reference to the rnajor conflict in Sri Lanka betwecn I he Sinhalcse and Tamil cornmunitics. See Musa (1981) for a history of the conflict in its languagc manifestation. 7. In Australia, one dominanl therne Iound in the newspaper clippings in the period around 1970, our period of study, related to the political and social project of incorporation of inrnigrating peoples into largor society. The majority of newspaper clippings, howcver, reflecled crcativc writers' challenge of public morality by their deliberate use of obscene language. While the delibera te display of obscenity could Iikely be revcaled as a puristic project to rernove political corruption and social double slandards, the use by actors of a few lexical iterns on stage is a rnere index of rnuch different concerns than that of language and do not converge on systernatic corrcction in a language systern. 8. Miss Williams rnaintains a Iile of "contentious words," diclionaries and guides to pronunciations. It is also part of her job to enquire about pronunciation frorn "consulares, Iinguists and English profcssors" (cspccially of narnes, e.g., "Ghugh - a tiny island ... ," "Soyuz"). Interestingly, this ar ticle includes a stereotyped Strine Australian) word in its headline: "She won't let them sound too 'fraffly.''' 9. The Australian language project forrns but par! of a broad historie process of Australian self-ernpowerrnent.

E. Movernent for Linguistic Purisrn: The Case of Tamil. In Language Movements in India, ed. by E. Annarnalai. Mysore: Central lnstitute of Indian Languages, 35-59.

Fishman,1. 1970 Sociolinguistics. A brief introduction. Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Heyd, U. 1954 Language reform in modern Turkey . Jerusalem: Israel Oriental Society. lernudd, B., E. Thuan . 1980 Rej1ections 01 /angu~e problems in some Australian newspapers. Al/ interim report for fiscal year 1980. East-West Center: Culture Learning Institute. . lernudd, B., J. Neustupny 1987 Language planning: for whom? In Proceedings 01 the Intemational Colloquium on Language Planning . Publication A-21 of the International Center for Research 011 Bilingualism, Quebec: Les presses de I'universit Laval, 70-84. lernudd, B., J. Uyangoda 1987 The power of English in Sri Lanka: a survey of newspaper content and text. In Perspectives in language planning ; ed. by Udaya Narayana Singh and R.N. Srivastava. Calcutta : Mithila Darshan, 60-')4. Kharnisi, A. 1987 Language planning strategies in Tanzania. In Proceedings 01 the 11/ternational Colloquium 011 Language Planning, Publication A-21 of the InternationaJ Center for Rcsearch on Bilngualism, Quebec: Les presses de l'universit Laval, 193-201. Musa, Monsur 1981 Language planning in Sri Lanka. Dacca: Bhuiyan Muharnrnad Irnran. Neustupny, 1. 1978 Post-structural approoches to language. Language theory in a Japanese context . Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. Ray, P.S. The value of a language. Lingua 10:220-33. 1961 Wexler, P. Purism and language: a study in modern Ukrainian and 8elorussian 1974 Nationalism (1940-1967). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


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