THE ROLE OF THE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN INDIA’S HEALTHCARE SECTOR

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Abstract


The last few years have seen the influx of a new kind of tourist to India - medical tourists, coming in search of good quality and affordable treatments for a variety of medical procedures. With a large number of patients coming from Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union, the demand for local people with knowledge of Russian is steadily rising. Through ethnographic field work, which includes par-ticipant observations and interviews, this paper traces the development of the use of Russian in large private hospitals in Delhi, which have started attracting patients from the former Soviet Republics for medical services. The aim of the present paper is to introduce a pilot study of a relatively new sphere of economic activity where commodification of Russian language is acquiring a prominent place in India. My goal is to examine how Russian provides an added value to these hospitals in terms of the clientele they attract and how well it works for the clients themselves. In addressing these issues the paper aims to reveal the specific conditions and processes that characterize the use of Russian in ‘medical tourism’ in India and the motivation of the personnel involved. The results of the study indicate that commodification of the Russian language in India is an expanding phenomenon.

Neelakshi Suryanarayan

neelakshi55@yahoo.co.in
University of Delhi Delhi University, 110007 Delhi, India

Neelakshi Suryanarayan, Phd, Professor, Head of the Department of Slavonic and Finno-Ugrian Studies, Delhi University, India. A graduate of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, she teaches Russian language, literature and cultural studies. She is a member of the international scientific network of ENIEDA and other professional and scientific associations, as well as the editorial boards of scientific journals, including the “The Russian Journal of Linguistics”. Research interests: comparison of speech etiquette in Indian languages, Russian and English, pragmatics, commodification of the Russian language in the 21st century.

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