17Indian English Pronunciation

PRAMOD PANDEY

Introduction

Indian English (IndE) represents one of the most prominent new Englishes (Mesthrie and Bhatt 2011). For a majority of its 125 million speakers, it is a second language, learnt at school and through higher education. For a small number of more than 200 thousand, in particular, the Anglo-Indian population, it is the first language, according to the 2001 Census of India figures. The pronunciation of English of Indians varies according to educational medium, level, and region, so that one can evidently speak of its variants such as Hindi English or Tamil English. English medium education as well as higher education has helped reduce the variation to the extent that a more general variety has emerged as an acceptable standard across the subcontinent, which has been given the name General Indian English (GIE).

My goal in this chapter is to illustrate the significant features of GIE and some of its variants. I first address the circumstances in which GIE has emerged as the representative variety of IndE. I then discuss the main features of the segmental and prosodic phonology of Indian English. I end the chapter with a brief discussion of an overview of issues relating to the stability of IndE.

English in India: past and present

GIE was proposed (CIEFL 1972; Bansal and Harrison 1974) as an educational standard for teaching English in India in place of British Received Pronunciation (RP), keeping in view the need to communicate ...

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