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Karachi weds Lahore

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This paper investigates the mixing of Urdu and Punjabi language elements in a comic television serial – Larka Karachi Ka Kuri Lahore Di – that aired during the month of Ramzan (Urdu for Ramadan) in 2012. The serial features exaggerated depictions of a Punjabi Lahori family and a muhajir (Urdu-speaking) Karachiite family. Of particular interest is the way marked phonological features and lexical items are deployed to highlight panjabiyat (‘Punjabi-ness’). This study explores relationships between the humorous performance of language mixing and language ideologies in Pakistan. Even in places where panjabiyat is strongly emphasized, the lexico-grammatical choices made by the characters still render the language maximally understandable to an Urdu-speaking (rather than Punjabi-speaking) audience. Using theories of ‘mixed language,’ this study seeks to address the importance and implications of these ways of performing ethnolinguistic identity.
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Keywords: Pakistani television; Punjabi; Urdu; language and media; language contact; language ideologies; language mixing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 10, 2017

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