Vysakh R

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar

Grant number

Gr. 10141

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

R, Vysakh (Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar) "Ecology and Ideologies of Language Loss: Making Sense of the Tsunami in the Nicobar Islands"

This project looks at the discourse of language loss about Lurö, an Austroasiatic language spoken in Teressa Island, Andaman & Nicobar archipelago, India. Teressa, along with other islands of the Nicobar group, was severely affected by the tsunami of 2004. The ecological catastrophe radically altered the socio-cultural makeup of these islands. This project will investigate this ecological disruption and subsequent sociocultural and linguistic changes through the lens of language ideologies. Speakers claim that Lurö is being replaced by Sanenyö, the language of the neighbouring island. Previous research conducted prior to the 2004 tsunami however suggests that there was stable multilingualism in Teressa as well as Nicobar in general. This situation does not lend itself to the more obvious explanations of language loss such as dominant language influence, prestige or economic pressures. This research hopes to contribute to the fields of linguistic anthropology and anthropology of climate change.