Cultural Imperialism and Linguistic Change: Impact of Cultural Imperialism on Dzongkha Borrowing

Dorjee, Kinley

In: Media and public culture: proceedings of the Second International Seminar on Bhutan Studies. Thimphu, Centre for Bhutan Studies 2007, pp. 121-136 . ISBN 99936-14-41-6

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In spite of substantial exertion by the government, school and language purists to refine Dzongkha, one still hears locutions such as: "Taxi thopchi-ga?" (Got a taxi?), "Party minjo - ga?" (Are you not going to party?) or "Sha kg chi" (a kilogram of meat). The interlocutors barely realize that they are employing lexical items that are borrowed from foreign languages to communicate in Dzongkha. Language purists are concerned with this threat of linguistic imperialism, but the relentless pursuit of speaking pure Dzongkha seems to be problematic with many speakers. One of the main factors that trigger this trend is change—social and cultural change. As David Crystal (1987) rightly says, "Language would stand still only if society did." Languages are always in a state of flux, because societies are, and society entails one's customs and practices, beliefs, attitude, way of life and the way people organize themselves as a group. In this paper the author examines the influence of cultural change on Dzongkha language and the inflow of foreign words in Dzongkha language.

Document type: Book Section
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2009 18:27
ISBN: 99936-14-41-6
Faculties / Institutes: Research Organisations / Academies > Centre for Bhutan Studies
DDC-classification: Other languages
Controlled Keywords: Dzongkha, Sprachwandel, Fremdwort
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kultureller Wandel, Dzongkha , Linguistic Change , Borrowed Word , Cultural Change
Subject (classification): Linguistics
Countries/Regions: Bhutan