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English Department Indian Diaspora

Language and Identity in the Indian Diaspora

Why study identity in the Indian Diaspora?
Roughly 20 million Indians do not live in India. Indians have made their home on practically every continent. The question is how they negotiate their Indian identity vis-à-vis the host culture. As a linguist, I am particularly interested in the role that language may play in this process.

hy focus on Indians from Fiji?
For Indians who came to New Zealand from Fiji, the issue is probably even more complex, because you are twice removed from your origins.

Who qualifies as a participant?
You are the person I am looking for
(a) if you were born in Fiji, one or both of your parents are/were Indian and you are permanently living in New Zealand now (FIRST GENERATION Indian from Fiji)
(b) you were born in New Zealand but your parents were born in Fiji and are of Indian or part-Indian background (SECOND GENERATION)

Why should I participate in this study?
The results are not only of interest to linguists, but will also contribute to ongoing discussions about language maintenance. One of the political issues involved in this is how community languages in New Zealand can and should be supported. In other words, the results may well impact the availability and quality of mother-language classes for your community.
By participating in this study, you will also benefit your community!
The more people take part in this survey, the sounder the basis will be for generalizations. In other words: your contribution will make a difference!

How can I participate?
If you are a first or second generation Indian from Fiji, please fill in the respective questionnaire below.

NOTE that if you were born in Fiji to Indian parent(s) but came to New Zealand at a very early age (i.e. BEFORE starting school), please also fill in the questionnaire for the SECOND generation Indians from Fiji!!!

For downloading the questionnaire, simply right click on one of the following links (the one relevant to you) and choose "Save target as..." from the drop down menu. Once you have filled in the questionnaire, save and please send it as an e-mail attachment to:

Questionnaire First Generation
Questionnaire Second Generation

You can further help in the success of this project by passing on this link to somebody else from your community with access to the www or help those who do not in filling it in!

Note: The questionnaire was designed with the needs of your community in view. It developed out of a series of interviews that I conducted during an extended stay in Wellington. I gratefully acknowledge the help of my informants!!! Without their contribution this project would have been impossible.

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