Language, Power and Gender: A Case Study of Code Switching by Less Educated People In Pakistan
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relation between language, power and gender among less educated people. Less educated people here mean those who passed only middle class examination. Foucault’s theory of power and discourse gave new dimensions to languages. Language is used to exert power (Foucault, 1998). Due to this relationship of language and power, the speakers try to use that language as is enjoying power and high status in their speech community. Those of high status enjoying language is very much seen in the process of code switching where the speakers do code switching from low status enjoying language to high status enjoying language.
The major aims of this research were to find out the relation between language and power and how speakers’ use of powerful language varied across gender. This study was quantitative. Data collection was done through questionnaire comprising of two sections. The first section was consisted of 10 close ended questions to know the relation between language and power. The second section of the questionnaire comprising of 10 close ended questions measured the status of Punjabi and Urdu. After careful inquires 30 less educated L1 Punjabi speakers were randomly selected from the city Sheikhupura. Among these 30 participants 15 were male and 15 were female. Audio recording was taken from 14 participants, 7 males and 7 females who had also took part in survey questionnaire to get the data about Urdu code switching. The results collected through the gathered data revealed the L1 Punjabi speakers regarded Urdu as powerful language and they asserted that language and power are closely related with each other. Further women used more powerful language and for this purpose they did more Urdu code switching as compared to men.
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