The East India Company arrived at Surat in India in 1607. David will explore the role it played in expanding the use of English in India, focusing especially on events leading up to the infamous Macaulay's Minute in 1835, regarded by many Indians today as the moment English was 'imposed' on the country. The historic evidence suggests a story which is much more complex, involving many public figures of the time, and which provides interesting parallels for the rise of English in corporate India today.
David is an acclaimed linguist perhaps best known for his ground-breaking 1997 book The future of English?, published by the British Council, in which he offered a number of compelling scenarios for how English as a world language might develop. Most notably, he pointed out that native speakers of English are or will soon be outnumbered by those who speak English as a second or foreign language.
While rooted in the history of the East India Company, David's lecture will stimulate a contemporary conversation about the continuing story of English in India today, a fitting celebration of the Anglo-Indian cultural collaboration in 2017.
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