Universität Bonn

Abteilung für Südasienstudien

A Comparative Analysis of Power and Politics: The Case of Punjabi in Pakistan

Research conducted by Saima Bhaur

Despite being the most widely spoken regional language in Pakistan with a substantive and rich body of literature available in Punjabi language, it is not seen as a high status language by the language users in the country. Unlike other regional languages, it is not taught at the school level and is overshadowed by the national language (Urdu) and the official language (English). At present it is increasingly losing attraction with certain segments of the society including women, girls and youth in the emerging middle and elite classes. Ironically, music and songs in this language are increasingly gaining popularity among these same sections of the society. Based on the emerging patterns of language preferences among the upper socioeconomic strata of Punjabi society, this research aims to understand the reasons behind the current status of Punjabi language in Pakistan by studying the historical, political and socioeconomic features in the province of Punjab as well as in the country comparing it with the status of official and national languages and other primary regional languages. Employing qualitative methods, this research explores the complex phenomenon in a dynamic, ever changing sociolinguistic context. Since there is very little research available in this area, this study will be significant for creating knowledge products for understanding and capturing the current status of Punjabi which may serve as evidence and building blocks for future research.

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