ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Investigating Multilingual Interactions on Youtube: Studying Code-Switching on Indian Regional Languages.


Pandya Pearl - SciencesPo, médialab, Paris, France


32 – Dynamics of Language Diversity, Multilingual Identities and Linguistic Nationalism in South Asia


 This paper uses the social media platform YouTube to study the multilingual nature of comments and commenters on the platform and study their interaction with each other. We look at how the Citizenship Amendment Act Protests which occurred in 2019 have been discussed in Indian regional languages. By exploring the linguistic diversity of conversations about CAA and the interaction of languages with each other, we shed light on both the dynamics of linguistic balkanization and unification that are intensifying in the South Asian region. Using computational methods, we analyze how the choice of language impacts the conversations occurring around the dialogue of citizenship. What role does language (or code-) switching play in the cultivation of ingroups as motivated by their linguistic dominance in a reply chain? What is the progression of the use of each language through time? What languages co-occur and which languages can follow each other in reply chains? We wish to understand the North vs South divide in India, and how that translates in the online sphere. We show that there is indeed a tendency of languages from the North to stay alienated from the South, meaning regional languages from the North are more likely to switch to Hindi and languages from the South to English. This clustering of regional languages around Hindi and English, further sheds light on their linguistic dominance in region and the ensued linguistic balkanization.