International Conference on Indian Languages in the Diasporas: Strategies of Retention and Modes of Transmission






Languages of the conference: French and English
All interested participants are requested to send an abstract, in English or in French, before 30 April 2015. 
For more details, please visit the conference website:


For more than three decades, the Indian diaspora has been the subject of many discussions and studies among researchers interested in the historical and economic aspects as well as the anthropological, social and political dimensions of migration. However, the presence of Indian languages and their role ​​within these diaspora populations have so far attracted very limited interest than expected. Of all the elements of identity (re)construction, language retention and transmission is the most problematic. Retention and transmission of the diasporic Indian languages may be mapped along a continuum ranging from disappearance or extreme marginalization to recovery, preservation and promotion through socio-cultural organizations or, in the ideal situation, by the State.

            The conference focuses on the languages of origin (LO) of the Indian diaspora societies, immigrated during the historical period of indenture that is from 1834 to 1920, known as the historical or old diaspora. They are settled in the following countries and areas: Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, South Africa, Fiji, Guyana, Suriname, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago. They belong to the two main linguistic groups of the sub-continent: The Indo-Aryan group: Hindi (Awadhi & Bhojpuri), Urdu, Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Punjabi and Konkani; and the Dravidian group: Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.

            The objective of the Conference is to provide a forum for discussion and interaction among researchers and educators on theoretical language retention and transmission issues in diasporic contexts, enhanced by relevant country-based case studies.

            The conference, being hosted in Guadeloupe, will pay particular attention to the Indian diaspora people settled in the French overseas departments (DOM): La Réunion, Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is important to highlight that most of them are of South Indian origin and claim Tamil as their language and culture.

            The focus of the present Conference lies on two related aspects of the Indian language ​​diasporic situation as part of the process of identity construction: 
1. Strategies of language retention
2. Modes of language transmission



Theme 1: Strategies of language retention (Maintenance, survival, or abandonment of the languages of origin)
The suggested subtopics and case studies include, but not restricted to, the following:

1.1) Factors affecting the maintenance or abandonment of LO
1.2) Maintaining of LO: the sociolinguistic, political and economic context
1.3) Presence / maintenance of LO: case studies (linguistic sustainability and literary movements)
1.4) Survival of LO: domains of use (Ancestral literatures, ritual songs etc.)
1.5) LO and identity in the modern global context
1.6) How essential is language to identity construction?
1.7) LO in contact with the country's languages ​​: bilingualism, diglossia, loss of LO,
1.8) LO and Creole: language contacts, linguistic change, borrowings (phonology, lexicon, morphosyntax)

Theme 2: Modes of language transmission
The suggested subtopics and case studies include, but not restricted to, the following:

2.1) Transmission through institutional, socio-cultural associations, family and group networks
2.2) Determination strategy for stabilization or revitalization of LO 
2.3) Ethno-linguistic groups and linguistic claims
2.4) LO vitality and trans-generational transmission (corpus analysis of ancestral literatures, ritual songs etc.)
2.5) Language and teacher training: content and methodology
2.6) Developing / adapting teaching methods and appropriate pedagogical materials
2.7) The role / contribution of new technologies
2.8) Presentation of successful case studies of LO maintenance/transmission

Appasamy Murugaiyan 
Chair, Conference Program Committee
EPHE-UMR 7528 Mondes iranien et indien, Paris    
Conference Website:



Time and Place:

Date:   Thursday, Oct 29, 2015
Venue:   Mémorial ACTe, Pointe-à-Pitre,Guadeloupe
Address:   Mémorial ACTe, Pointe-à-Pitre,Guadeloupe
City/Twon:   Mémorial ACTe, Pointe-à-Pitre,Guadeloupe
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