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Published Date: May 31, 2013

SDPI Press Release (May 31, 2013)

Sustainable
Development Policy Institute organized a special lecture on “Karachi Weds
Lahore: Urdu-Punjabi language mixing and the performance of ethnolinguistic
identities in Pakistani TV comedy”by Ms. Gwen Kirk, visiting research fellow,
American Institute of Pakistan Studieshere on Friday. She speaks about her study
on language, identity, and stereotyping with a broader understanding of the
Pakistani sociolinguistic situation and seeks to better understand the formal
constraints on this kind of language mixing.

Speaking
on the occasion, Dr Zareena Salamat, Council of Social Sciences introduced the
study and the speaker of the lecture. She also encouraged Ms. Gwen efforts and
fortified other researchers to work on Pakistani languages and cultural
impacts. Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI moderated the proceedings.

The
lecture shared the result of a study on a comedic television serial that aired
during Ramadan 2012, which revolves around the culture clash between a Mohajir
family from Karachi and a Punjabi family from Lahore as they attempt to arrange
a marriage between their son and daughteris linguistically very complex.

In
her remarks, Ms Gwen highlighted that the study investigates the
characteristics of “mock” Punjabi in Pakistani popular media, and hope to
understand both the indexicality exhibited in the borrowing of lexical,
grammatical, and multimodal features of Punjabi into Urdu, and the regularity
of this process. 

In
outlining her vision of the study, Ms. Gwen discussed the story and characters
of the play and as to how they inspired her to do research work on it. As Gwen
is an expert in speaking Urdu and Punjabi she compared the use of words of both
languages in this serial. Further she discussed the issues of ethnicity,
inter-city rivalry and gender biases due to cultural differences.

Giving
concluding remarks she saidthat the preliminary investigation of this corpus
shows that a variety of marked Punjabi features are mapped onto speech that is
perfectly understandable to Urdu-speakers in order to project a certain
Punjabiyat(Punjabi-ness) onto Urdu grammatical forms. These are used to deploy
the characteristic of Punjabiyat, ‘Punjabi-ness,’ which has a certain negative
or humorous connotation when used during Urdu utterances.