Rukmini Bhaya Nair

Rukmini Bhaya Nair
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi | IIT Delhi · Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

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44
Publications
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130
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Publications

Publications (44)
Chapter
Democracy was forged in the furnaces of oppression, whether combatting tyranny or affirming the rights of the individual. As democracy is under threat in many parts of the world, there has never been a more urgent need to understand political thoughts and behaviours. This lucid and accessible book brings together a global group of scholars from psy...
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How do language learners avoid the production of verb argument structure overgeneralization errors ( *The clown laughed the man c.f. The clown made the man laugh ), while retaining the ability to apply such generalizations productively when appropriate? This question has long been seen as one that is both particularly central to acquisition researc...
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This paper is an enquiry into some commonalities between fiction and atheism. It suggests that ‘disbelief’ may be a state of mind shared by both and asks how a meaningful semantics might be derived from the mental stance of disbelief. Albert Camus’ The Plague, published in 1947 post the trauma of two successive world wars, is a key ‘existentialist’...
Article
How do language learners avoid the production of verb argument structure overgeneralization errors ( *The clown laughed the man c.f. The clown made the man laugh ), while retaining the ability to apply such generalizations productively when appropriate? This question has long been seen as one that is both particularly central to acquisition researc...
Article
Full-text available
This preregistered study tested three theoretical proposals for how children form productive yet restricted linguistic generalizations, avoiding errors such as *The clown laughed the man, across three age groups (5–6 years, 9–10 years, adults) and five languages (English, Japanese, Hindi, Hebrew and K'iche'). Participants rated, on a five-point sca...
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This chapter proposes an interdisciplinary field of studies called ‘ epithymetics ‘ (Latin, ‘pertaining to desire’). It is argued that the concept of desire may have especial relevance as India integrates today into a ‘world economy of desire’. India offers an ideal location for the initiation of such a field since analyses of desire, from Buddhism...
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This essay draws attention to the almost coeval birthing of the transitive verb ‘outsource’ and the now invisibly hyphenated noun ‘postcolonialism’ in the late twentieth century, to suggest that, via the violent enjambment of these oddly disparate yet fraternal words, some of the meanings that attach to the former term have consequences for a conte...
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Focusing on Tagore’s essays on language in Sabdo Tattwo and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Worterbuch fur Volksschulen, this chapter argues that it is instructive to read Tagore’s philosophy of education for children, produced in colonial India, in tandem with the sort of praxis for primary education Wittgenstein devised in Europe sundered by WW1. Violence...
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All fiction, arguably, is thought experiment. Fiction, that is, may be held to perform certain crucial tasks that have conventionally been assigned to the domain of the sciences (see Mach 1897 on the Gendankenexperimente). By offering us characters, histories, and geographies that, by definition, do not exist in – or alter in subtle and significant...
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Narrative is a linguistic form that accommodates fictional as well as factual accounts of the world. It is, of course, widely recognized that there has always been a long and leaky boundary between the two apparently orthogonal concepts of “fact” and “fiction,” and narrative straddles both. This hybrid nature of narrative is a salient feature that...
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English in India has had an extended and elite colonial history. It was the dominant language of governance in the 19th and 20th centuries till India became independent and a new set of language policies came into being. This paper traces the narrative of English on the Indian subcontinent from its genesis as a foreign and imperial tongue to its ac...
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Over the past half-century, Noam Chomsky has established a powerful intellectual presence in two apparently unrelated domains of discourse — the field of theoretical linguistics and the arena of anti-establishment politics. This paper examines Chomsky’s use of metaphor across these domains, arguing that in Chomsky’s work metaphor enables an underco...
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Previous research investigating attentional bias has produced intriguingly equivocal results. The present large-scale study explored attentional bias in subjects diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and in a control group (n = 80) using the Emotional Stroop Test. Results clearly indicated poorer performances across the board amongst p...
Chapter
Introduction Two large and amorphous categories, namely “Indian youth” and “Indian English,” intersect in this chapter to create a major analytic challenge. Youth, of course, has long been an intractable concept and no definition of the term has yet been found to hold across every culture. Hence, most researchers agree that only way out is to descr...
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Can the tired mantra of the personal as the political be rejuvenated via a polysemous semantic theory that calls for what might be termed, after Sappho, a "hermaphrodite awareness"? By adopting as my metaphor for this paper the "twentyone stringed harp" that Sappho is said to have invented as the appropriate instrument for her lyric voice, I seek t...
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In this elegantly written and theoretically sophisticated work, Rukmini Bhaya Nair asks why human beings across the world are such compulsive and inventive storytellers. Extending current research in cognitive science and narratology, she argues that we seem to have a genetic drive to fabricate as a way of gaining the competitive advantages such fi...
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A substantive universal found across the languages of the world is the tag-question. This paper attempts to detail some of the grammatical as well as pragmatic properties of this interrogative form, and examine its relation to a particle which is peculiar to many of the languages in the Indian subcontinent. This is the emphatic particle ‘to’ used i...
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Exposes the complicity of language and its uses in the colonial project. A revealing look into the long afterlife of colonial conquest, Lying on the Postcolonial Couch offers an original, overarching concept that informs-and helps to explain-the workings of postcoloniality. This concept, "indifference," is a play on the key critical term "differenc...

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