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Author Ahmad, Rizwanen_US
Available date 2011-09-14T08:18:59Zen_US
Publication Date 2011-06en_US
Publication Name Language in Society
Citation Rizwan Ahmad (2011). Urdu in Devanagari: Shifting orthographic practices and Muslim identity in Delhi. Language in Society, 40, pp 259-284en_US
ISSN 0047-4045 (Print)en_US
ISSN 1469-8013 (Online)en_US
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10576/10736en_US
URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0047404511000182en_US
Abstract In sociolinguistics, Urdu and Hindi are considered to be textbook examples of digraphia—a linguistic situation in which varieties of the same language are written in different scripts. Urdu has traditionally been written in the Arabic script, whereas Hindi is written in Devanagari. Analyzing the recent orthographic practice of writing Urdu in Devanagari, this article challenges the traditional ideology that the choice of script is crucial in differentiating Urdu and Hindi. Based on written data, interviews, and ethnographic observations, I show that Muslims no longer view the Arabic script as a necessary element of Urdu, nor do they see Devanagari as completely antithetical to their identity. I demonstrate that using the strategies of phonetic and orthographic transliteration, Muslims are making Urdu-in-Devanagari different from Hindi, although the difference is much more subtle. My data further shows that the very structure of a writing system is in part socially constituteden_US
Language enen_US
Publisher Cambridge University Pressen_US
Subject Sociolinguisticsen_US
Subject Orthographyen_US
Subject Hindien_US
Subject Urduen_US
Subject Script-changeen_US
Title Urdu in Devanagari: Shifting orthographic practices and Muslim identity in Delhien_US
Type Articleen_US
Pagination 259-284
Issue Number 3
Volume Number 40


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