Urdu Language Attrition Due to the Preference for English
A Cross-Generation Comparative Study
Keywords:Attrition, Lexical Preferences, Code-switching, Language shift
This research aims to explore the linguistic behavior of Azad Kashmir speakers among two generations and their linguistic preferences to determine their degree of shift/maintenance. Being a Mixed Method study, the research utilized both quantitative and qualitative data gathered through a questionnaire administered to 112 speakers, 52 females with the count of 26 each in both generations, and 60 males from Gen X and Millennials, residing in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, followed by in-depth interviews of 10 key informants from the adult generation to analyze the psychological and sociological factors responsible for the attrition. The research findings indicate clear signs of Urdu language attrition among the Kashmiri community living in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, despite having a positive attitude towards the Urdu language, which is indicative of a high sense of ethnolinguistic vitality. It seems that the process of partial shift has started in the Millennial group. The impact and level of attrition in Gen Z is unexplored to date, which can be studied in future. Keeping in view the existing sociolinguistic conditions in the context of AJK, where high socio-economic importance is attached to English, it is expected that the attrition process may get completed in 4-5 decades, with a complete loss of competence in the national language and the native language of thousands of AJK residents. The findings of this study can lead to the awareness needed to maintain linguistic and cultural diversity at both regional and national levels in Pakistan and can accelerate the efforts to bring reforms to the country's existing language and education policy.
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