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Copyright
VOLUME 2 (2000), ISSUE 3 (SUMMER)

 

DO MINORITIES HAVE TO ABANDON THEIR LANGUAGES? A CASE STUDY OF MALAYSIAN TAMILS

MAYA DAVID AND IBTISAM NAJI

 

SUMMARY

One effect of migrations is a steady fall in the languages of the world. When a community migrates from its original home base to a new setting it is possible that with time they will shift away from their original ethnic language. This research discusses the status of the Tamil language in Malaysia. Although a minority Indian community in multiracial Malaysia, the Tamils who originally came from Tamilnadu comprise the largest Indian community in Malaysia. This research looks at the use of the ethnic language among Tamil undergraduates of the University and their families. To determine the status of the Tamil language, a 25-item questionnaire was given to 90 respondents and their families. To ascertain the future of Tamil, language choice and use between older and younger community members was compared.

KEYWORDS

Minorities - Language - Tamil - Malaysia - Ethnicity

AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION

Maya Khemlani DAVID and Ibtisam M. H. NAJI are professors at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

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