Explicit and implicit attitudes of Pakistani rural Punjabis towards Punjabi - A sociolinguistic investigation of linguistic attitudes and the Punjabi language’s vitality in Punjab, Pakistan

Sani, Bushra (2020) Explicit and implicit attitudes of Pakistani rural Punjabis towards Punjabi - A sociolinguistic investigation of linguistic attitudes and the Punjabi language’s vitality in Punjab, Pakistan. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Language is an important symbol of status and class differentiation in Pakistan. Punjabi, the mother-tongue of majority of the people in Pakistan, is considered to have an association with the uneducated working class of the country. Extant research on attitudes towards Punjabi has revealed the neglected status of Punjabi in Pakistan (Akram and Yasmeen, 2011; Rahman, 2007 & 1999; Gilani, 2014; Nazir et. Al, 2013; Sani, 2014). Language shift concerns have been reported in the majority of the previous studies and ascribed to parents’ negative disposition towards Punjabi (Shackle,1970; Baart, 2003; Zaidi, 2001; Mansoor, 1993 & 2004). However, the focus of research in Pakistan, to date, has been on identifying the attitudes of urban and educated Punjabi youth only (Abbas et al., 2019; Abbas and Iqbal, 2018; Shah and Anwar, 2015; Mansoor, 1993; Riaz, 2011; Kazim and Shah, 2015; Akram and Yasmeen, 2011 and Gilani, 2014). No previous study has investigated the linguistic attitudes of less-educated Punjabis in rural and informal settings where Punjabi is most commonly spoken. The extant literature on language attitude studies in Pakistan has also paid scant attention to the notion of implicit and explicit attitudes. The present study understands ‘implicit’ attitude as the result of directly expressed (rather than necessarily unconscious) attitude and investigates the directly and indirectly expressed language attitudes of less-educated Pakistani Punjabis towards Punjabi in rural and informal settings. The study also aims to explore the differences/similarities between directly expressed (explicit) and indirectly expressed (implicit) attitudes. Questionnaires are employed (as a direct method) to measure the explicit attitudes of the participants, and semi-structured interviews are employed (as an indirect method) to measure respondents’ implicit attitudes. 106 participants took part in the language attitude survey. 102 respondents participated in the subjective vitality survey and 31 participants were interviewed for qualitative study.

The findings show that participants’ explicitly expressed (explicit) attitudes are more positively inclined towards Punjabi than their indirectly expressed (implicit) attitudes towards the language, which appear to be negative. The participants seem to acknowledge the fact that Punjabi is their mother-tongue and is part of their identity, but the data indicates a lack of intergenerational transmission of Punjabi. Punjabis are not teaching their language to their children which not only suggests their negative implicitly expressed attitudes towards Punjabi, but also signals a language shift from Punjabi to Urdu. Similarly, despite explicitly reporting that Punjabi is important for maintaining a high social status, participants seem to associate Punjabi with low social status, illiteracy and backwardness. These results, therefore, indicate that there is a divergence between the explicitly and implicitly expressed attitudes of the participants towards Punjabi. This investigation enables the researcher to obtain a clear understanding of participants’ social perceptions, language preferences and the status, value and importance (i.e. the vitality) of Punjabi in Pakistan. The thesis makes a significant contribution to the study of language attitude and is methodologically innovative in distinguishing between explicitly and implicitly expressed attitude.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2022 13:55
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2023 01:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/84516

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