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SOUTH ASIAN ENGLISH

SOUTH ASIAN ENGLISH, short form SAE. The English language as used in BANGLADESH, Bhutan, India, the MALDIVES, NEPAL, Pakistan, and SRI LANKA. The combined populations of these countries, projected as 1,400m in the year 2000, constitute almost a quarter of the human race. English is their main link language, largely as a result of British commercial, colonial, and educational influence since the 17c. Only Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives remained outside the British Raj. All South Asian countries are linguistically and culturally diverse, with two major language families, Dravidian and Indo-Aryan, a shared cultural and political history, common literary and folk traditions, and pervasive strata of SANSKRIT, Persian, and English in language and literature. Three factors operated in favour of the spread of English: the work of Christian missionaries: demand from local leaders for education in English, to benefit from Western knowledge; and a decision by the government of India to make English the official medium of education. There is a general educated South Asian variety of English used for pan-regional and international purposes. Its use is influenced by three factors: level of education and proficiency; the user's first or dominant language (and the characteristics of the language family to which it belongs); and ethnic, religious, or other background. There is a continuum from this educated usage as an ACROLECT through various MESOLECTS to such BASILECTS as the BROKEN ENGLISH of servants, street vendors and beggars.

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