Congratulations to Dr Elinor Payne who has been awarded a Leverhulme International Academic Fellowship

Leverhulme International Academic Fellowship

Indian English on the move: language contact and change in new urban diasporas

Dr Payne will investigate the impact of domestic and international migration on the phonetics, phonology and prosody of Indian English. Within India, English is spoken (as an L2 or L3) by some 11% of the population, making India home to the world’s 2nd largest English-speaking community. In addition to charting variation and convergence in Indian English, the research aims to deepen our understanding of how speakers adapt to shifts in multilingual settings and how this affects language use and structure.


Like many global varieties of English, Indian English is shaped by complex and dynamic multilingualism: while sustained contact with a large number of diverse Indian languages has led to sub-varietal features, language use is dynamic, and sensitive to wide-scale socio-economic changes. Little is known about the linguistic effects of rising inter-state migration, other than anecdotal reports of increasing use of English in the workplace and by the children of migrant families. Together with a proliferation of English-medium schools, this may be ushering in new, more homogenous varieties.


The study focuses on Hyderabad, a fast-growing metropolitan hub of inter-state domestic migration, and on Melbourne, one of the fastest growing international destinations for Indians, both attracting young, educated professionals from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Melbourne also provides a comparison with longer-standing, more demographically stratified diaspora communities e.g. in the UK, and an opportunity to investigate any impact of Indian English on variation in Australian English more widely.



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