The Hinglish Epidemic

The language usually associated with India is Hindi. However, this language is spoken mostly in the Northern part and is the official language of the government, not the nation. Spread throughout the country are various dialects and even entirely different languages. With this being said, the only language that enables people from all over the country to communicate is English. India is believed to be the second- largest English- speaking country after the United States. This cultural imperialism is reflected is many aspects of the culture. Most people in India want their kids to attend schools where English is taught, often by Catholic priests. When you call someone and the line is busy, the automated voice message says “Dial kiya gaya number abhi vyast hai” which translates to “The number you’ve dialed is currently busy”. Increasingly more Bollywood films are mixing Hindi and English in the film dialogue and musical numbers as well. Below is an example of a song from the movie Race 2 (notice even the movie name is in English).

This development seems to be creating a new culture for India and is eroding at the idea of the  “pure” Indian culture that may or may not have existed before India’s exposure to the West.

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Brazil’s Love for Facebook

Deep in the Amazonian rainforest of Brazil, there are indigenous villages that barely have the comfort of paved roads and running water. However, they still have access to Facebook. It is through social media that these Brazilian communities are trying to stop the construction of a hydroelectric dam along the Xingu River. The Facebook page consists of posts from activists that give information about demonstrations that are happening and progress that the people have made. A group that would have remained unheard before, the indigenous now have a chance to voice their concerns to a broader audience.

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This situation is exemplary of technological determinism- how technology drives the culture. In the case of Brazil, the need to stop the construction of the dam was fulfilled by creating a Facebook page. The problem existed beforehand and the technology helped them take action. Thanks to social media, it is now accessible to the public on a global scale and includes these indigenous people in the globalization process.

While the global average use of Facebook dropped two percent, Brazil’s use went up 208 percent. Brazil is considered a “chatty” and “friendly” culture, which could explain how easy it was for Brazilians to immerse themselves in social media. As is seen in our American culture, Brazilians too have internet sensations that have risen to fame from being discovered on social media. One of them is Michael Telo, whose song “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” or “Oh, If I Catch You” reached the number one spot on iTunes throughout various countries in Europe and Latin America. The official video has more than 33 million likes, making it among the most popular YouTube videos.

Clearly, Brazil has a lot they want to share with us and with the digital revolution that is taking place, the world will definitely be seeing more of them.

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