Report of international Conference on Language, Literature and Culture (6th ICLLC)
(15-17 December 2017)
The International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture was organizede by the Institute of Advanced Studies in English, Pune from 15-17 December 2017.
Report of International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture (5th ICLLC)
(03-05 February 2017)
The International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture organized by the Institute of Advanced Studies in English, Pune from 03-05 February 2017 scaled new heights and was a resounding success. This wasw deue to the presence of various reknowned international literary figures and scholars, the quality of papers presented and the immense response and turnout of young researchers and faculty. The highlight was the diversity of representation of research areas and participants from 23 Indian States, 15 countries, IITs, NIITs and several reputed Engineering and Management Institutes.
The participants and delegates were warmly welcomed by Dr Ashok Thorat, Director, IASE who also addressed the elite gathering and emphasized the importance of language, literature and culture and pointed out that they were inseparable entities. The concept of Digital Humanities and its significance in today's scenario was lucidly explained by Dr Thorat who also enlightened the audience about the objectives of the conference and expressed the hope that all the participants will hugely benefit by interacting with each other and gain a lot of insights and take aways from all the sessions.
Dr William David Ashcroft, popularly known as Bill Ashcroft, is a renowned author, critic and theorist, founding exponent of post-colonial theory and the author of The Empire Writes Back. In his Keynote Address, titled 'Post-Colonial Utopianism: The Utility of Hope', he expressed his views about how post-colonial writers have generated a Utopian spirit. He talked about the Utopian function of art and literature and explained the concept of Heimat which, he stressed, was a constant beacon for the spirit of liberalism. He also discussed the genres of Utopian writings and generated a lot of interest when he referred to the Indian writers like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore and to Hind Swaraj as Gandhiji's Heimat. He also gave examples of post-colonial Utopianism in the works of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Shashi Tharoor, Arundhati Roy and various other contemporary writers. He opined that their literature display potent forms of Utopianism in modern times.
The first Plenary Session was led by Dr Padmini Ray Murray who has a variety of achievements to her credit in varied fields like Publishing Studies and Digital Media and Videogames. She examines the relationship between technology, content and culture and has worked on challenging projects as lead Researcher. She has to her credit digital projects like Cocophonic, Meghdoot,and Shakey the winner of Overall Best Hack, Most Playful Hack in 2012. In her session titled 'Making Culture: Locating the Digital Humanities in India' she enlightened the audience in an interactive manner about the role of Digital Humanities in contemporary academia. She shed light on sources for insights on Digital Humanities and enthralled the audience by talking about various Digital Projects she was working on as well as other ongoing projects. She encouraged the audience to be involved in Digital Projects and invited them for a one to one session with her after the plenary session.
The Second Plenary Session was on Digital Humanities and it was led by Dr Ashok Thorat. In his opening speech, Dr Thorat stressed the importance on Digital Humanities today and in the future and shed light on how it could be incorporated with other disciplines. He explained what Digital Humanities was about and fascinated the audience by giving insights in to how a language teacher can use and explore Digital Humanities. He referred to Dr Padmini Ray Murray's session on Digital Humanities and in his forthright and endearing style he encouraged research scholars to get associated with Digital Humanities Projects.
There were two presentations in this session. The first speaker Arjun Ghosh from IIT Mumbai gave a thought provoking presentation on 'Wikipedia and its uses'. He took the example of how the Shivaji and Afzal Khan encounter was reported not very accurately by different authors on different sites and how Wikipedia, on the other hand, did the same but in an objective manner. He also guided the audience on how best Wikipedia could be used. The second speaker was Anuradha Iyer, a research scholar at IASE whose presentation was titled 'An Analysis of Twitter in an English Classroom'. She pointed out how digitized texts, even poetry, can be used in an effective manner in the English classroom. She revealed how digitization and social networking sites like Twitter are effective pedagogical tools and presented the findings of her sample study on the use of Twitter in a CBSE School.
There were more than 250 participants who participated enthusiastically, especially during the question hours and the discussion on the papers presenrted and their ideas and opinions on them spilled over and continued into the tea and lunch breaks too.
The variety of research papers presented was indeed mind boggling and awe inspiring and they were conducted in 23 parallel sessions. The participants and research scholars from 15 countries and 23 Indian States, including IITs, NIITs and Engineering and Management Institutes motivated and inspired everyone present by their mesmerizing presentations, lucid and clear expl;anations, as they went about discussing various issues pertaining to language, literature, culture and the digital humanities. This conference had many enriching and interesting learning experiences, magical moments and lovely memories and inspired many thought about future areas of research. All present had many interesting and knowledgeable take aways from this conference and it is hoped that the teachers and research scholars will come back enlightened and present fresh and new perspectives from this conference.
Report Prepared by Dr Rama Gautam
Report of International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture (ICLLC 2014)
(15-17 December, 2014)
The International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture organized by the Institute of Advanced Studies in English and Center for Digital Humanities, Pune from 15-17 December, 2015 proved to be an intellectual feast for delegates coming from different parts of the world.
The Conference opened up with an innovative manner with a Professional Development Workshop. This session aimed at guiding all the participants in understanding how any conference should be a pleaseant experience for both the organizers and the participants. Ashok Thorat, Director, IASE shed light on the ways of making the experience of preparing for a conference fruitful and sustaining. Dhanashree Thorat, a research scholar from the University of Florida focussed on how abstracts should be written and proposals should be suvbmitted. She remarkably demonstrasted how an abstract should make 'a compelling case'. Todd Harper, Director of KSU Program in Tuscany, Italy, pointed out some of the problems faced by his UG students while publishing an article and he made some important suggestions. He stressed the idea that academic enquiry is an on-going conversation and we must make that enquiry meticulously.
P C Kar, Head, Center for Contemporary Theory, Baroda gave the first plenary session. In his session entitled 'English Studies at the Crossroads' he suggested some of the ways to transcend the 'crossroad syndrome'. He argued that we all are a part of vast literary space, and English literature should be looked upon as a facilitating agent to bring various literatures together. He emphasized the point that it is necessary to separate 'English Studies' from 'Cultural Studies'.
Laurie Gries, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Florida, USA was the second plenary speaker. In her presentation entitled 'Circulation Studies, Visual Rhetoric, and the Study of Remix as a Transnational Political Practice' she portrayed how visual rhetorics affect our whole range of activities in public life. With the example of 'Obama Hope'. she depicted how images circulate and take a life of their own. She argued that Remix in the 21st century has become a ubiquitous political practice and that 'circulation' as a central focus for research study opens up new directions in humanities.
A G Khan, Director, Dr Rafiq Zakaria Center of Higher Learning and Advanced Research, Aurangabad, made a presentation on 'Locations of Culture in Literature' in the third plenary session. He stated that the whole idea of literary studies juxtaposed with culture studies creates a very complex kind of matrix. He argued that culture studies attempt to constructively intervene in the process of social change, they empower liberatory discourses and that the cultural matrix helps us in negotiating with different human experiences. However, logical definition of 'culture' as an independent discipline is not available and efforts must be taken in this direction.
The Panel Discussion on 'Future of Humanities' set everyone thinking. Ashok Thorat argued that incorporating digital technology in Humanities studies is a need of the hour. Laurie Gries ecpressed the view that Humanities expose students to aesthetic and intellectual dimensions of human experience and suggested that we need to create 'think tanks' in order to serve Humanities. Afzal Khan supported her view abd added that we, as teachers, researchers and academicians have the responsibility to constructively intervene in the process of change.
In the fourth plenary session, Todd Harper made a presentation on the topic entitled 'Music in a Minor Key: Music as a Heuristic for Video Storytelling'. He argued that changes in tecnology are transforming our literary practices. He gave an example of how his son chose the right music first and then prepared a video. On the basis of this experience he suggested that we can learn a lot from our students who are digital natives and we can also offer them some training in critical thinking.
S G Kakade and Dimple Mapari's video presentation revealed how music is an integral aspect of the lives of tribals in Central Province of India. It showed how every occasion in their life is filled with music, songs and dance.
The presentations made by delegates in 36 parallel sessions covered a spectrum of topics. Two sessions were dedicated to Digital Humanities. Presenters in these sessions, both from IITs and conventional universities, displayed sound acquaintance with DH methods and tools.
More than 250 participants from around 22 countries actively participated in the conference and discussed various issues related to language, literature and culture. The conference proved to be a highly memorable, enriching and revealing experience for all the participants as it has given a new perspective, has suggested future areas of research to many scholars, has inspired teachers to comprehend the role of Digital Humanities and thus everyone has returned absolutely 'charged' with new hopes and aspirations with a view that the future of humanities would be bright.
Report Prepared by Madhuri Gokhale
The International Conference on the topic ‘Language, Literature and Culture’ organized by the Institute of Advanced Studies in English and Forum for Innovation and Transformation, Pune has certainly been a great success. It succeeded in bringing together experts from different parts of the world and during these three days an enquiry into the relationship between language, literature and culture was made effectively.
The conference was set to tune with a welcome address of Dr. Ashok Thorat, Director, Institute of Advanced Studies in English. He put forth the objectives of the conference and expressed the hope that this conference would enable the participants to return home absolutely ‘recharged’.
Prof. Willie Van Peer, Professor of Intercultural Hermeneutics from Ludwig Maxmilian University, Munich, Germany, delivered the key note address. He stressed the significance of developing scientific methods for literary and cultural studies. He argued that a scientific study of literature is not only possible, but highly desirable, if we wish to make progress in this field. With the help of Wundt curve, he demonstrated how a kind of methodology can be developed for literary studies. His results were truly enriching and interesting.
In the first plenary session Prof. Jasbir Jain, Director, Institute for Research in Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, eloquently made a case for how literature can play a very significant role in times of violence. Her presentation motivated us to think of the objectives of studying literature. She stressed the idea that literature is an inspiration of what it means to be human.
Prof. Paroo Nihalani, Visitng Fellow in the Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, was the speaker for the second plenary session. He presented his views on ‘The Impact of Globalization on English Language Education in the 21st Century’. He focused on the ideology of global communication and suggested that English when used well, can impress, inspire and intoxicate in many different situations. He drew our attention to the fact that ‘social acceptability’ is of greater importance than ‘intelligibility’ in any act of communication.
In the third plenary session, Prof. Peer made a profound analysis of different aspects of the theory of Foregrounding. He discussed Shlofsky and Roman Jakobson’s views on foregrounding. He illustrated the role of complexity in literature and established the point that complexity plays a vital role in the perception of a literary text.
In the fourth plenary session, Prof. Shrikant Sarangi, Professor in Language and Communication and Director of the Health Communication Research Centre at Cardiff University, Wales, UK, articulated his views on ‘The Status of Role in Pragmatic and Discourse Analytic Studies’. He elucidated different faces of the Role theory and by citing some interesting examples he put forth the necessity of moving from ‘speech based pragmatics’ to ‘role based pragmatics’. He argued that the notion of role-set which includes role-hybridity, is an unavoidable aspect of our professional practice.
In this conference, Mr. Sachin Nikarge, Program Coordinator of USIEF, Mumbai gave some valuable information about Fulbright Scholarships.
Dr. A.G. Khan, Director, Rafiq Zakaria Institute of Advanced Studies and Research, Aurangabad, delivered the Concluding Remarks in the Valedictory Address. He argued that literature is capable of creating a negotiable space between language and culture and stressed the idea that literature carries a humanizing power. Dr G. Srinivas, Joint Secretary, UGC, WRO, was also invited in the valedictory session. He brought out the intricate relationship between language and culture in his speech.
In the valedictory session, Dr. Madhuri Gokhale, Assistant Professor, Fergusson College, read out the summary of the conference. Dr. Munira Lokhandwala, Assistant Professor, Abeda Inamdar Senior College of Arts, Science and Commerce, and Coordinator of the conference, proposed the vote of thanks.
It is interesting to note that around 350 participants from 22 different countries, and 25 Indian States participated in this conference. 220 papers were presented in different parallel sessions. Various approaches to the studying and teaching of literature were discussed. Analysis of different literary texts was presented by researchers. The views expressed in parallel sessions provided the participants with some interesting hypotheses which they can test in further large scale studies.
The success of the conference lies in the fact that it has given rise to several questions and the conference can be looked upon as the first step towards the resolution of some of these issues. The conference definitely provided an intellectual feast that has a potential to inspire the participants to think more about ‘Language, Literature and Culture’, and engage themselves in research on different aspects related to this theme. This conference also provided a wonderful opportunity to interact with scholars from different parts of the world and it is hoped that the bonds of this friendship would blossom in the years to come.
Report Written by Dr Madhuri Gokhale
The Institute of Advanced Studies in English, Pune organized the ‘International Conference on Pragmatics’ from 15 to 17 December 2006. Pragmatics is an interdisciplinary approach to language that studies language use and language users. As such instead of language as a system, it is the context in which language is used is the focus of study in Pragmatics. Context is an intricate, interdisciplinary and dynamic phenomenon. Interpreting language use involves exploration into the context. Pragmatics provides the tools and theories for undertaking this challenging task.
The conference was inaugurated at the auspicious hands of Prof. Jacob Mey, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Southern Denmark. He talked about the strategic use of indirect speech acts at length. He also elaborated upon his groundbreaking notion of ‘ Situated speech act’ and ‘Pragmatic act’. Prof. Ashok Thorat, Director of the IASE and the Chief Organizer of the Conference spelled out the objectives of the Conference in his Introductory Address. The chief aim of the Conference was to develop an awareness of the Pragmatic perspective of language and to promote research in this area.
Three books namely, a special issue of ‘Asian Quarterly: An International Journal of Contemporary Issues’, ‘The Non-Native Phenomena of English’ and ‘Pragmatics’ edited by Prof. Ashok Thorat were released during the inaugural function.
Leading Pragmaticians including Prof. Jacob Mey, Prof. Jef Verschueren, Prof. Richard Janney, Prof. Cornelia Ilie, Dr. Christine Christie, Prof. Paroo Nihalani, Prof. M.L. Tickoo, Prof. V. Saraswathi, Prof. Asha Tickoo, and; Prof. Piotr Cap, were present as Resource Persons.
Prof. Richard Janney, Professor of English Linguistics, University of Munich, Germany, brought out the need for taking into account multilingual features of Pragmatics in his enlightening talk. He pointed out that there are discrepancies between western theories of Pragmatics and Cultural practices in non-western countries. He explained how there is a need to understand the complexities in communication in postcolonial societies and how there is a need for a different model of speaker in multilingual speech communities. He thinks that more research needs to be carried out in postcolonial Pragmatics.
Prof. Paroo Nihalani from Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Brunei, Darussalam stressed the idea that all varieties of English are equally legitimate and cited some interesting examples from different non-native varieties of English. He articulated the need to explore common substratum that cuts across all these non-native varieties. He discussed the concept of ‘Glocal English’ in the context of globalization. He remarked ‘It is necessary to shift the focus from what is convenient for teachers to teach to what is effective for learners to learn’. His paper revealed that intonation is crucial to the pragmatic level of interaction between the speaker and the hearer and he also suggested that there is a need to expose learners to native as well as non-native models.
Prof. M.L. Tickoo , Retd. Professor from CIEFL Hyderabad articulated his views on curriculum renewal in ELT. He stated the massive tasks that India’s mainstream ELT systems have to face ad then suggested the lines on which long term curriculum renewal can be made in order to solve the problem.
Prof. Cornelia Illie, Professor of English Linguistics, at Orebro University, Sweden commented on the goals of Pragmatics and rhetoric. She suggested a Pragma-rhetorical model and demonstrated it with an analysis of proverbs. Her paper revealed that there is essentially no difference between so called universal proverbs and culture specific proverbs.
Dr. Christine Christie of Loughborough University, U.K. reviewed the approaches to politeness and explained the reasons for their inadequacy. She explained various trends in the Relevance theory. She pointed out how the previous approaches were inadequate to explain the relationship between saying and meaning because of binary nature. She demonstrated how Relevance theory can explain politeness in a more satisfactory manner.
Prof. V. Saraswathi, Retd. Professor from University of Madras eloquently pointed out in her paper that ESL learners may have linguistic, communicative and strategic competence but they lack pragmatic competence. She argued that it is necessary to understand how pragmatic conventions differ from grammatical conventions and suggested some strategies for developing pragmatic competence in the classroom.
Prof. Asha Tickoo from the Department of English Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville pointed out that keeping meaning informationally and suggesting meaning indirectly for face saving are the two widely acknowledged types of information design. She elaborated on a third possible type of information design, which is making meaning informationally distinctive.
Prof. Piotr Cap, Head, Department of Linguistic Pragmatics, Institute of English, University of Lodz, Poland drew attention to how legitimization is reflected in the multiplicity of rhetorical patterns in his stimulating presentation. He tested the validity of the STA model in a discourse-pragmatic study of the American involvement in Iraq.
Prof. Jef Verschueren made a presentation on ‘Some Fundamental Issues in Pragmatics’. He spoke on ‘Context and Structure’ in a theory of Pragmatics. He brought out the complex relations between context and structure through ontological and epistemological links. He showed how forms can change their meaning with a change of context and how context changes if the form changes.
The conference witnessed representation from twenty two countries: India, China, US, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, Yemen, Poland, Spain, Iran, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Sri Lanka and Australia. Around 250 delegates participated in this conference and 30 selected papers were presented on a variety of topics.
In one of the papers the discourse of outsourcing and globalization in India and the US as represented in global popular media was analyzed. One of the researchers presented an analysis of Taiwanese behavior and showed that it was affected by face and concordance when a Taiwanese asks someone for money. Six different kinds of MSN Greetings in Taiwanese younger generation were analyzed and it was argued that there is a degree of familiarity in greetings used in Taiwan. Some of the problems in Natural language processing were discussed and a solution was suggested using a pragmatic analysis. There was an interesting talk on the dynamics of the communication between doctors and patients. A pragmatic analysis of utterances of NDA Cadets as a part of the communication in the Indian Armed Forces was also offered. It was suggested that there is a need to arrive at more comprehensive descriptions of the relationship between Pragmatics and Literature and Pragmatics and the legal discourse.
The basic relationship between Linguistics and Pragmatics was explained by referring to the notions of ‘Politeness’ and ‘Face’. The scope of Pragmatics was brought out and it was shown how various theories in Pragmatics deals with meaning in context. The significance of Conversational Analysis as an area of study in Pragmatics was brought out in detail.
The construction of discourse in letters of application was analyzed in order to bring out the two opposite strategies used in them. The impact of semantic oppositions in modern publicistic style was also discussed. By giving the example of the project of the restoration of the Islamic wall, it was demonstrated that metaphors are used to form public opinion. Some of the differences between forms of politeness in western and eastern societies were also highlighted.
The most revealing session was the ‘Panel Discussion’ on the topic ‘Possibilities of Research in Pragmatics’ in which a variety of possibilities of research and applications of pragmatics were indicated.
This conference made an enquiry into the relationship of Pragmatics with literature, Media, Language Teaching, Natural Language Processing, Legal, Political and Medical Discourse; Outsourcing, Defense and Economics. It has offered some interesting hypotheses that can be tested in further large-scale studies.
Prof. Jef Verschueren, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Antwerp, Belgium delivered the Valedictory Address. He described Pragmatics as the science that helps understand the working of the minds of the interlocutors. Human understanding and world peace are the domains in which Pragmatics has a great role to play. According to him the multilingual and multicultural India has a lot to offer to the Western World in terms of language studies, particularly in Pragmatics. Prof V. Saraswathi from Chennai presided over the Session.
Report prepared by Dr. Madhuri Gokhale
The International conference on the topic ‘The Non-Native Phenomena of English’ organized by the Institute of Advanced studies in English, Aundh, Pune 7 in collaboration with the University of Pune and the Cambridge University Press & Foundation Books Pvt. Ltd. has certainly been a great success. This Conference provided to the participants a platform for expression of ideas and enabled them to get ‘food for thought’. It brought together Experts from different parts of the World and during these three days different aspects of this theme were discussed.
The conference was inaugurated at the auspicious hands of Dr. Ashok Kolaskar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Pune. He gave some interesting examples of interference of Indian languages with English. He argued that with the development in Science and Technology, language has been changing rapidly and so there is a need to study English from a new perspective.
Dr. Rajendra Singh, Professor of Linguistics, University of Montreal, Canada delivered the Keynote address. He made a profound analysis of different aspects of the Native and Non-native Phenomena of English. He questioned the very notion of ‘Native Speakers of English’ and stressed the importance of comparing native competence with non-native competence and native performance with non-native. His remark ‘Speakers of Indian English are native speakers of Indian English’ set the participants all thinking.
Professor Khubchandani, Director of the Center for Communication Studies, Pune was the Chairman of the inaugural session. He eloquently brought out the fact that today English has become the property of all and he made some very interesting remarks on the Sociology of Language.
Prof. Ashok Thorat, Director of the IASE, the host Institute, introduced the theme and welcomed the participants and guests. Prof. Shridhar Gokhale, Head, Dept. of English, University of Pune proposed vote of thanks.
During the first technical sessions the invited speakers made presentations on different topics. Professor M.L. Tickoo, Retd. Professor from CIEFL, Hyderabad presented his views on ‘Native vs Non- native roles in English language education’. He stressed the need for repositioning the native and non-native speakers’ roles in language education. He argued that a non-native speaker can be the best teacher for teaching English. His presentation also suggested that course designers should always take into consideration the cultural ethos and educational environment of the ELT Class.
Professor K. C. Baral, Director of the Regional Center of English, Shillong stressed the idea that there is a need to take different theoretical perspectives into account while teaching English. His suggestion that there is a need to look at English Studies in a productive way is certainly very significant.
Dr. Claudia Lange from Technical University, Dresden, Germany articulated her views on the topic ‘Focus marking in Indian English’. She drew the participants’ attention to the peculiar use of words ‘itself’ and ‘only’ in Indian English. She cited some interesting examples from the Kolhapur Corpus of Indian English and the International Corpus of English. She stressed the need to explore whether these are pan-Indian features. Her paper was followed by a stimulating discussion on standardization of English.
Professor V. Saraswathy, Retd. Professor from the University of Madras made a brief survey of the various myths about the native speaker. According to her non-native speaker is often neglected in Linguistic circle. She pointed out some of the advantages that a non-native speaker has over the native speaker and suggested the terms ‘target language user’ and ‘near native speaker’ instead of ‘non-native speaker’.
Dr. Champa Tickoo, Retd. Professor from the University of Singapore suggested some techniques to teach English in order to create a positive attitude towards English in the learners’ mind. She discussed an experiment that she carried out in a high school in Hyderabad. She gave some important hints about what we can do in our actual classrooms to upgrade the students’ Linguistic competence.
Dr. Maya David, from University of Malaya, Malaysia expressed the view that learners of a language must not only be linguistically competent but also communicatively competent. She examined two important speech acts, greetings and responses to compliments by Malaysian speakers of English. Her paper brilliantly argued that in order to communicate effectively within and across cultures it is important that language learners be first made aware of the values and cultural norms of a specific ethnic group as reflected in their speech acts.
In this conference K. Rajeevan from Foundation Books Pvt. Ltd. and Ms. Sheela Kurian from Orient Longman gave some very useful information about books, dictionaries, courses and different examinations. A number of books were displayed by the Publishers and a demonstration of the language laboratory was offered by ACEN.
Different delegates presented well-written and thought-provoking Papers during the technical sessions. This Conference gave some new insights in English language teaching. The teacher’s role as a co-ordinator of students’ activities was emphasized by different participants. Different models and techniques for teaching English were suggested. Several problems that the teachers face in actual classroom in rural as well as urban area were discussed and some solutions were offered.
There was an interesting discussion on English literature teaching. Innovative ways to teach drama, poetry and fiction were suggested. A teacher must be well equipped with different aspects of the text and must make an attempt to make students independent readers of literature. It was argued that literature could be one of the sources to enrich students’ linguistic competence. This Conference also dealt with the question of teaching grammar in the non-native context.
Several papers emphasized the significance of the use of Media and Technology in ELT class. The traditional methods of teaching seem to be ineffective today. It was argued that the use of Multimedia in the classroom can make learning an enjoyable experience for the students. The analysis of the use of English in advertisement on Television, newspapers and websites was very interesting.
An enquiry into the relationship between the mother tongue and English was also made in this conference. It was suggested that the judicious use of mother tongue is advisable in the classroom. Some of the papers were good exercises in cross-cultural studies. It has also been argued that there is a dire need for rethinking on language policy in the wake of globalization.
One of the most important sessions was the Panel Discussion in which Profs. Rajendra Singh, Claudia Lange, Maya David and Jayant Lele participated. Dr. Lange commented that we should cherish multilingualism. Prof. Lele pointed out that the debate is not between ‘native’ and ‘non-native’, but between ‘unilingual’ and ‘multilingual’ contexts of India. Prof Maya David was happy to see the amount of research carried out on Indian English and gave words of encouragement to all researchers. Prof. Rajendra Singh asserted that the native speaker myth and the argument about mutual intelligibility promote the hegemonic variety. The delegated enthusiastically participated in the lively discussion that followed the speeches of these stalwarts.
Thus, this Conference looked at the political, social, economic and pedagogical implications of using English in non-native contexts. It has provided us with some interesting hypotheses which we can test in further large scale surveys. It has given rise to several questions. The conference can be looked upon as the first step towards the resolution of some of these issues.
This conference has certainly inspired the participants to think more about ‘The Non-native phenomena of English’ and engage themselves in research on different aspects of the problem. Moreover, the participants have carried with them an approach and a definite way of looking at English language. The debate will continue in a dispersed manner till the next conference on ‘English in the Multilingual Contexts’ scheduled for the year 2006. Institute of Advanced Studies in English will coordinate these discussions and play the host for the next conference.
Prof. Arun Nigavekar, Chairman, University Grants Commission of India in his valedictory address emphatically mentioned that the twenty first century belongs to the languages and culture studies. He generously bestowed praise on Prof. Ashok Thorat for organizing this conference on such an important issue. Prof. Jayant Lele, Professor Emeritus, Queens University, Ontario, Canada presided over the Valedictory Session.
250 delegates from fifteen countries attended the conference. Apart from the invited speakers, thirty selected papers were presented on different aspects of the theme of the conference.
Report prepared by Dr. Madhuri Gokhale