As a result of globalization and the exponential growth of information and communication technology, English has become the language of higher education, international trade and upward mobility all over the world. This has led education planners to focus on English as a compulsory subject from an early stage as part of the curriculum. English language thus occupies a pivotal role in multilingual societies, and has evolved itself into a complete language with distinct features resulting from its active association with dominant languages in teaching-learning contexts. It is, therefore, imperative to note that English is not just a language but a composite of many variations based on region, culture, and competence of the users of English. It need not be seen as a deviant form but as another language in its own right, heavily influenced and coloured by the languages prevalent in a specific multilingual context.
In view of the above contexts, the current issue covers papers dealing with various aspects of transactions in multilingual classrooms where English is taught or learnt as a foreign/second language. The paper by Tej K. Bhatia addresses the dilemma of code-mixing in classrooms and underlines the value of this linguistic trajectory as a valuable resource. On the other hand, the paper by Rakesh M. Bhatt stresses the urgency with which we need to redefine the disciplinary discourses of abstract and theoretical dichotomies (language-interlanguage, standard-nonstandard, native-non native, target-fossilized) to validate and incorporate the local hybridities. Karthika Sathyanathan and Rajesh Kumar highlight certain linguistic and syntactical peculiarities of slang that is spoken by the student community of IIT-Madras. Nivedita Kumari discusses the errors in written reports of Japanese EFL learners.
Elizabeth Eldho looks at the status of English in the multilingual and multicultural India and tries to argue that the so-called Indian English can be branched off to incorporate different varieties having distinct identities of their own. The paper further throws light on the implications of multilingualism within English in the field of language teaching. Shagufta Imtiaz explores the pedagogy in a multilingual classroom, where interpersonal space is considered crucial for developing multiple literacies in home language/mother tongue among the linguistically diverse students. S. Ramamoorthy emphasizes the use of learners’ prior knowledge about his first language and culture to facilitate L2 learning.
P. Sunama Patro reports the effects of L1 lexicalization on vocabulary recall in incidental vocabulary acquisition. Ravinarayan Chakrakodi discusses the challenges confronting the government’s controversial decision to introduce English as the medium of instruction in government schools from Grade 1.
Our thanks to K. Srilata for agreeing to spare time to express her views on creative writing and the creative process during her interview with Hemachandran Karah. We are grateful to Hemachandran Karah not only for conducting the interview but also for transcribing it for us.
We are grateful to all our contributors, peer reviewers and book reviewers for bringing out this volume.
Rajesh Kumar teaches Linguistics in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai.