Code-Switching in Modern Indian Cinema




Richardson, Audrey

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A multi-billion dollar industry based in Mumbai, Bollywood—the world-renowned Indian equivalent of Hollywood—is a force to be reckoned with. For decades its dramatic plotlines, colorful cinematography and intricately choreographed dance numbers have provided the Hindi-speaking population of India with its primary cinematic entertainment. In addition to stunning visual and musical elements, however, an increasingly common linguistic trend has been observed in many recent Bollywood films. Within the scripts of modern Indian cinema, code-switching, or the alternation between multiple language systems within discourse, showcases the fascinating present-day relationship between Hindi and English, providing insight into the unique cultural and linguistic positioning of millions of Indians in the twenty-first century. This thesis explores the phenomenon of code-switching by examining excerpts from the 2009 blockbuster 3 Idiots in light of past research from the fields of syntax, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics.