There were 35 questions related to attitudes towards different languages of India. I also wanted to include questions related to languages other than English to have a wider perspective of the position and status of English in India. The informants were asked to grade the statements from one to four, depending on how much one agrees/disagrees with a given statement.
The attitudes of Indian informants towards the use of English (and other languages) are studied from mainly two different perspectives:
I have also reserved one perspective for (3) the attitudes towards Hindi and other native languages (although those attitudes will be commented upon in other dimensions, as well. There is, too, a fourth dimension; other findings of the study (under which those attitudes have been placed which could not appropriately be included anywhere else).
Statement 3 ("I like speaking English"), 10 ("I identify myself with British and the Angloamerican culture") and 14 ("English provides a range of aesthetic experiences in literature") are related to affective/integrative dimension.
(1=strongly disagrees, 2=disagrees, 3=agrees, 4=strongly agrees with the statement.)
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I like speaking English."||1||5||10||14|
80% of the informants like speaking English; 20% report not to. Those 20% seem to consider speaking English not as a matter of option or willingness; it is just plain reality.
The informants do not identify themselves with British and Anglo-American culture (83%); only one reports that he/she identifies him/herself strongly with the culture, and 13% said that they somewhat identified themselves with it. Indian values seem to be still important to the informants; 73% of the informants do not identify themselves with western values (only two people say they identify themselves with western values).
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I identify myself with British and Angloamerican culture."||18||7||4||1|
However, English does provide a range of aesthetic experiences in literature for over half (53%) of the informants; for 47% it does not (with 7% strongly disagreeing).
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"English provides a range of aesthetic experiences in literature"||2||12||10||6|
Speaking English is considered an advantage by 93% of the informants (with 60% strongly agree). The informants strongly disagreeing with the statement included one person with Hindi as his/her mother tongue and one ardent supporter of Bengali.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"Speaking English is an advantage"||--||2||10||18|
Statements number 11 and 12 had to do with the role of English with employment opportunities. Most of the people admitted (93%) that it is useful to know English when looking for a job. Only two people strongly disagreed with the statement.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"English offers advantages in seeking good job opportunities."||2||--||6||22|
People are, too, fairly convinced that without the knowledge of English their job opportunities would be relatively limited; 76% thinks that without the knowledge of English they could not get a job at all (53% strongly agreeing). However, still 23% of the informants, almost one fourth, disagreed with the statement (13% strongly). One interesting ambivalence must be noted: some informants, claiming that English is not needed when looking for a job, reported, however, in the domain analysis very frequent use of English in the domain of employment. Thus, it can be concluded that the informants perhaps wanted to answer to these questions in the way which, for instance, show loyalty towards a certain language, or in the way the situation ideally (in his view) would look like.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"Without the knowledge of English I could not get a job."||4||3||7||16|
87% of the informants think of English as one way of securing one's chances to get a good job (although, as one informant put it, "It depends on what kind of job"). Hindi is, in general, too, perceived as "less useful to know than English" (57%). 41% disagree with this, though. One informant did not give his/her answer to this question at all.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"Hindi is less useful to know than English."||5||7||10||7|
The great majority (97%) of the informants think that even if they did not know Hindi, they still would get a job. Only one informant claimed that he/she could not get a job without the knowledge of Hindi (one informant did not answer in the question).
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"Without the knowledge of Hindi I could not get a job."||15||13||--||1|
The informants seem to support the role of English as an associate official language, for 62% of them say that "to be admitted to a public post, one should be able to speak English". One informant did not give his/her answer.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"To be admitted to a public post, one should be able to speak English."||--||11||9||9|
Most (94%) of the informants think all children should learn English at school (however, some acknowledged the illusion of that statement:"Wish, but I don't think it's possible"). Only two people disagree with the statement. Also, English would be chosen as the medium of instruction in the majority of cases (93%).
Only 24% (10% strongly agreeing) think that children resent having to learn English (67% of the people strongly agreeing come from West Bengal). Two informants did not answer this question.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"Most children resent having to learn English."||11||11||3||3|
The informants would prefer using their mother tongue in most situations, whenever possible (83%; 53% strongly agreeing). 16% disagree with the statement, however (maybe because they use different languages according to the situation and the people they are with).
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I prefer using my mother tongue in most situations, whenever possible."||1||4||9||16|
Hindi was not quite as popular: only 10% of the informants (all of whom actually speak Hindi as their L1) would like to speak Hindi whenever possible. 67% disagreed with the statement (17% strongly). Most (72%) of the people who disagreed with the statement come from either Tamil Nadu of West Bengal. One informant argued:"Hindi is someone else's regional language, it's not mine. Why should I use it? Why is Hindi special? Why not Bengali, or Tamil, or Malayalam, or any of the wonderful Indian languages?"
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I prefer using Hindi in|
all situations, whenever possible."
The maintenance of Hindi is perceived as important for the development of India in 33% of the responses. 64% disagrees with the statement (27% strongly). Three of the four informants who strongly agreed with the statement speak Hindi as their mother tongue; one person who also strongly agreed comes from Jammu and Kashmir. Perhaps as one reason for her ardent support for Hindi (his/her mother tongue is Kashmir) could be given that she would quite clearly like to be identified with the Hindi-speaking rather than with the Urdu-speaking population (and the culture) in the area. Language is, after all, an important marker of identity.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I think it's important to maintain|
Hindi to enable India to develop."
It can be mentioned, too, that, quite surprisingly, two Tamils and one West Bengali also agreed that Hindi is indeed important for the development of India. One who disagreed with the statement wrote:"You should not bias a multicultural, multiethnic country by favouring one native language over the other. It leads to domination of other regions by one region".
44% of the informants think that they owe it to their forefathers to preserve Hindi, whereas 55% disagree with the statement (with remarks such as "Well I believe in the survival of the fittest" and India is a multilingual country and each region has its own predominant linguistic loyalties". One Bengali wrote:"I owe it to my forefathers to preserve BENGALI. A person whose mother tongue is Hindi owes it to HIS forefathers to preserve his language!"). Again, the ones who strongly agree are the ones mentioned in connection with the previous statement. One person did not give his answer to this question.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"We owe it to our forefathers to preserve Hindi."||8||11||7||4|
People do feel that they owe it to their forefathers to try to preserve the mother tongue of their people: 83% agrees with the statement (55% strongly). 17% disagree on this one; one comment was quite straightforward:"If most people can communicate in a language then I don't think other languages need to be preserved as antique items". One person did not give his view of the matter.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"We owe it to our forefathers to try|
to preserve the mother tongue of our people."
The statement "I strongly identify myself with my mother tongue and the group that speaks it" is maybe the most important one for this section. 72% claims identification with their mother tongue and the group that speaks it. Still, 21% of the informants claim they do not identify with the mother tongue at all. Most identified themselves more with the mother tongue and the group that speaks it than British and Anglo-American culture; only two informants claimed the opposite. Two informants claimed no identification with neither.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I strongly identify myself with my|
mother tongue and the group that speaks it."
A little over half of the informants (60%) thought that creative writing can be done in a foreign language; the language does not matter, as long as the person is a skilled writer: "It depends on personal skills" and "You can be comfortable with many languages, it depends on the individual". Still, 40% of the people are of the opinion that creative writing should preferably be done in one's mother tongue, 17% were strongly agreeing (one informant wrote: "I feel so as I can not express my feelings as I want in English".)
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I think it is better for an Indian person to write|
creative writing (e.g. books, poems) in his/her mother
tongue, rather than in English. In English, it seems so artificial."
In most of the informants' views (70%), the use of Hindi should be encouraged throughout India. One informant stated further: "At least till higher literacy rate is obtained". (Yet, the same informant would like to educate his child rather in the medium of English because of "globalization".)
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I think the use of Hindi should |
really be encouraged throughout India as a whole."
A little more than half of the informants (60%) would like to see Hindi as the official language of India also in the future.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"Hindi should always remain as the official language of India."||4||8||9||9|
Most (67%) of the informants feel proud to speak the language and consider it a big part of their culture and identity (although 13% of them strongly disagreed with the statement: one informant added:"I assume "our" implies North India" and one Bengali commented:"It is a regional language. It is no greater or less than BENGALI". One person from Tamil Nadu explained the linguistic situation in the south as follows: "Hindi is not at all prevalent in the Southern states, especially Tamil Nadu...so in the Southern states, English is more often the common language if people of different languages meet").
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"I feel proud to say I can speak Hindi: it is such a big part of our culture,|
heritage and identity. I could almost say, it symbolizes those."
A little more than half of the informants disagreed with the statement "by speaking Hindi I show commitment to my country" (one added "and I show commitment to my soul"). Two people did not answer.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"By speaking Hindi I show commitment to my country."||7||9||8||4|
Hindi is clearly associated with Indian culture: most (74%) of the informants think they would miss out on many enjoyable parts of the culture, such as folk music and literature, without the knowledge of Hindi. It is surprising that one of the informants who disagreed with the statement speaks Hindi as his/her mother tongue! All informants of the Andhra Pradesh group agreed with the statement, all the other Hindi-speakers, as well as the person from Jammu and Kashmir agree (as expected), almost all (75%) informants from Kerala and Maharastra groups agree (with Mah2 strongly disagreeing), in the Tamil group 57% agree with the statement. The West Bengalis most strongly disagree with the statement (with 67%; of which 75% strongly disagreeing).
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"Without the knowledge of Hindi, I would miss|
out on many rewarding and enjoyable parts of culture, such
as folk music and indigenous literature."
The clear majority of the informants considers speaking both Hindi and English an advantage. Although both the languages are thus considered important, they are important in different domains and for different purposes.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||Speaking both Hindi and English is an advantage."||1||--||9||20|
English is considered important to India as a whole. Only 10% disagreed somewhat with the statement (two Tamils and one West Bengali).
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"English is important to India as a whole."||--||3||14||13|
Most informants do not feel the need for more TV and radio programs available in English. 44% of the informants, however, would like to have more broadcasting in English.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"There should be more TV and radio programs available in English."||--||17||8||5|
The majority (80%) would like to see English always on public signs, notices and adverts, although, as one informant adds:"along with regional languages".
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"English should be used on public signs, notices and adverts, always."||2||4||15||9|
According to the majority of the informants (63%), English carries higher status than Hindi in India.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"The status of Hindi is higher than that of English in India."||7||12||8||3|
English is perceived, on the whole, advantageous to the country. As much as 93% think this way, with the exception of one informant from Tamil Nadu and another from West Bengal.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"On the whole, I can say that English has been and continues to be an advantage to India."||2||--||13||15|
English, on the other hand, in the informants' opinion (74%), does not make up a significant part of the country's history and identity: only 23% (3% strongly) think it does. Two informants did not give their answers.
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"English makes up a significant part of our history and identity."||11||11||5||1|
|Statement||1||2||3||4||"When I use English, it is most often with native speakers or foreigners, not with Indian people."||5||15||7||2|