Perceptions of Sindhi Muslims Towards Exogamous Marriages: An Exploratory Study

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Muhammad Hassan Abbasi
Maya Khemlani David


It has been said that exogamous marriages tend to lead to language shift (Igboanus & Wolf, 2009 & Dumanig, David & Shanmuganathan, 2013). In an early study Gal (1978) found that Hungarian women marrying German men in the city of Oberwat had shifted to German to negate their peasant Hungarian ancestry and to move up the socio-economic ladder. Similarly, David and Dealwis (2011) found in their study of Malaysian Sindhi Hindus that exogamous marriages tend to lead to language shift but is not the only reason for the shift away from the heritage language. Therefore, before mixed marriages take place one should study perceptions of the speech community towards such marriages. In this exploratory study, the perceptions of Sindhi Muslims-men and women and from different socio-economic groups towards exogamous marriages are studied. With this objective, semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten Sindhi Muslim participants (four male adults and six female adults) who live in Karachi. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded and themes were generated after formal consent was obtained. The findings show that language choice in the home domain is shifting because of intercultural marriages. Also, such marriages are frequent among Sindhi community members with a high socio-economic status who live in cities. Gender plays an equal role too, as the women respondents showed mixed responses towards exogamous marriages while the male respondents had a more positive perception. Such views and perceptions may affect choice of marital partners and language choice in the home domain.

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