My name is Khan… from the epiglottis: Changing linguistic norms in Bollywood songs
Many recent studies, academic and non-academic alike, have argued that the use of Urdu in Bollywood has started to decline. These studies, important as they are, however, suffer from some limitations. They are either impressionistic or based on non-representative data. Furthermore, they do not specify the object of the study or the site of the assumed decline of Urdu. Therefore, it remains vague which element of Urdu, for example sounds, words, syntax or script is under investigation. Similarly, it is not clear which component of film for example titles, dialogues or songs are experiencing the decline. Fulfilling this research gap this paper makes two contributions. Analyzing songs from 1959 to 2010’s, it empirically demonstrates the decline by documenting the shift in the pronunciation of the sounds /kh̲ /, /gh̲ /, and /q/ from the Urdu to Hindi phonetic norms. Singers from the 1990’s, unlike those from the previous generations, merge them with the sounds /kh/, /gh/, and /q/. The paper also makes a methodological contribution in that it shows how language in cinema can be studied empirically using a corpus.
- English Literature & Linguistics [23 items ]