Language and Identity in Saurashtra

Harald Tambs-Lyche


This article describes the necessity of various signs or “markers” that identify and distinguish a community from the others in Indian society. It points out that references to images or models are necessary to understand the language of identity as practised in Saurashtra. The author shows how Indian society provides a large scope for interaction that creates or maintains rank differences or “hierarchising transactions”, and also how the rules of hierarchising transactions are better seen as implicitly structuring different kinds of such behavioural schema. It shows that the rules of interaction and the grammar of language of identity imply that people must share a number of presuppositions that link social categories and their stereotypes on the one hand, and a repertory of recognised types of situation on the other hand.

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