Functions of English vs other languages in Sri Lankan Buddhist Rituals

Herat, Manel (2015) Functions of English vs other languages in Sri Lankan Buddhist Rituals. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 5 (1). pp. 85-110. ISSN 2232-3317 (Accepted for Publication)

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This paper focuses on the functions of English versus other languages in Sri Lankan Buddhist
rituals. The framework for this paper is based on a previous work on the language of Hindu rituals
by Pandharipande (2012). This study aims to examine the following research questions: (1) What
languages are used for practicing Buddhism? (2) Is English used in Buddhist rituals? (3) What
methods are used to sanction change? and (4) Will English replace Sinhala and Pali in the UK? In
order to answer these research questions, I collected data by attending Sri Lankan Buddhist
festivals and event in the UK and recording sermons and speeches used during these festivals to
gather information regarding language use and language change. The study proved to be a worthy
investigation, as unlike in Sri Lanka where only either Sinhala or Pali is sanctioned in Buddhist
practice, in the UK, Sinhala is undergoing language shift and is being replaced by English during
Buddhist sermons and other activities. Although prayers and ritual chantings are still in Pali, most
of these are explained to the congregation using English. In addition, the use of English is also
sanctioned by the Buddhist clergy, through the use of the internet and other media for purposes of
promoting Buddhism and reaching young Sri Lankans born in the UK. The investigation draws on
Fishman’s (1972) theory on domains of language use; Smolicz’s (1981) core value theory and
Bourdieu’s translated work on linguistic markets (1991).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: Every effort has been made to contact Ljubljana University Press but in the absence of any policy direction, this item Functions of English vs other languages in Sri Lankan Buddhist Rituals. Acta Linguistica Asiatica 5(1) has been uploaded to Liverpool Hope Institutional Research Archive (HIRA). For any concerns or to ask for its removal please contact
Keywords: Buddhist rituals; functions of language; English use, Sinhala, Pali, Sri Lankan Buddhists, Buddhist community UK
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > English
Depositing User: Manel Herat
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2017 11:33
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2017 11:33

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