Class control

An Interesting Teaching Anecdote

Lekh Nath Sharma Pathak

This happened when I was teaching at Buddha Bhanu Saraswati College in Shillong, India, a college initiated and established by Nepali Community there. I was teaching a class of over 200 students in what was then called Pre-University level. When I finished taking attendance and was about to start the topic, the class was booming with murmur. 200 students whispering and murmuring produces noise sufficient to make teaching impossible. So, I thought of a way to get the class quiet so that they would listen to me and I could start the class. I knew that if I simply announced, “Now, class, keep quiet so that I can start teaching,” it would not work. I had to do something more effective. For a while, I paced back and forth on the ‘stage’ – a raised platform for the teachers so that the students could see the teacher. The whole class was watching me doing this. Then, I suddenly turned to the students and yelled like a military commander, “Stop!” with the index finger pointed up in the air. And the next thing I said, quietly, was, “Just look at the tip of this finger” and the whole class went silent and really looked at the tip of the index finger. They found this quite amusing and some of them were about to smile and say something, but I intervened: “Now don’t speak anything and listen.” And the class quickly came under control and the rest of the hour went on smoothly, with the students talking when they were expected to do so.

ELT Survey- Need of the Country, by Sajan Karn

Editorial
ELT Survey: Need Of The Country (source: http://www.gorkhapatra.org.np/detail.php?article_id=1124&cat_id=7)
Sajan Kumar Karn
English Lan guage Teaching (ELT) began in  Nepal in 1854 when the then prime minister, Jung Bahadur Rana, opened a school in Kathmandu, popularly known as Durbar High school. Since then, the English language has been taught and learnt as a foreign language in the schools and colleges of Nepal. In the olden days, it was used for an extremely specific purpose, i.e., for academic purposes.
Use
When we scrutinise the current status of the English language and its teaching, we find that little attempt has been made to document its present state of affairs. The use of English has extended by leaps and bounds. English language institutes, English medium schools and colleges are mushrooming. Some 50 regular publications, including dailies, weeklies and magazines, are regularly published in English. A large numbers of books, journals and periodicals are produced in English. Nepali literature – stories, essays and poems have been translated into English for wider readership.
Cyber culture has fascinated the younger generation immensely and, therefore, the use of English has considerably gone up. What’s more, in the Nepali society, speaking in English adds to one’s status. All these have ultimately led to a craze among Nepalis to learn and speak English.
Nevertheless, English language teaching in Nepal does not seem to have drawn the needed attention of the authorities concerned, in particular, and the government, in general. The government has not formulated any policies yet for its use and promotion. Of late, English teaching has started from grade One, and today it is a matter of heated controversy among the politicians as to whether to start teaching English from grade One or from grade Four as in the past. The decisions that have been made so far lack study and research.
In 1984, a survey of English language teaching was carried out in Nepal. The report clearly pointed out the lack of required proficiency among the English language teachers. Several other studies indicated the low standard of English teaching in Nepal. Only about 50 per cent of English teachers of Nepal are trained. We can not expect better results from the remaining 50 per cent untrained teachers.
Until recently, English was taught as a foreign language. Nevertheless, its enormous demand and use have made it a second language. Today, English is not only a subject taught in the academic institutions but is also a medium of instruction, means of communication between students and teachers, and the language of trainings, seminars and conferences. English medium schools have treated their territory as ‘English speaking zones’. This has transformed the role of every teacher to be an English teacher first. A considerable number of interviews on TV take place in English. FM radio stations beam a good number of programmes in English.
Recently, some presentations (by V. S. Rai at the 11th international conference in Nepal) and articles claim that a different variety of English is developing in Nepal. The Nepali variety of English, or Nenglish, shows not only remarkable disparity from the native dialects like British, American varieties but also from the Indian English, comically known as Hinglish (as it is influenced immensely by the Hindi language).As a matter of fact, English spoken in Nepal has considerably changed over the years. It has been observed that the way Nepalis speak English differs from the way other nationals speak, not only in terms of vocabulary but also structure and meaning and pronunciation.
Loktantra (a political system devoid of a monarch) is preferred to democracy as democracy was used to refer to prajatantra which included a monarch. Dot pen is used for biro and copy is used for exercise book. Likewise, ‘no’ is used as a filler and ‘isn’t it?’ is a multipurpose tag for Nepalis.  However, it is unfortunate that neither the constitutions in the past nor the newly inked interim statute make any mention of English, which has taken space in most of the Nepalis’ hearts. A New Nepal is in the making. May my pen awaken the constitution makers!
The role of the English language in a New Nepal can hardly be exaggerated as this can stand as an icon of unity and national harmony since all other languages have been alleged to belong to specific communities. English can be an instrument to strengthen loktantra and promote human rights. As the nation is undergoing a transitional stage, everything is in a state of flux. This is the time for the nation to ponder over a language policy, in general, and ELT strategy, in particular.
ELT survey
Whenever our lips utter the word ‘English’, NELTA (Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association) instinctively follows. English and NELTA have become so inseparable that it is impossible to think of one in the absence of another. Today NELTA has developed into a big umbrella that can accommodate one and all English language teachers from primary to university levels. Recently, NELTA has proposed for an ELT survey to bring to the fore the present situation of ELT in Nepal. This is a venture taken by NELTA to help the nation formulate scientific policies for the English language and its teaching. The initiative will contribute to finding out the standard of English language teaching in Nepal.
It will also explicitly sketch an outline of the variety of English emerging in Nepal and will guide ELT in the days to come. On behalf of NELTA, I urge the stakeholders of ELT in Nepal – concerned authorities like the Ministry of Education and British Council Nepal, to join hands with NELTA in its undertaking of the ELT survey.
(Karn is an English teacher educator at Thakur Ram Multiple Campus, Birgunj)

If you are an English Teacher…

IF you are a teacher,……….?

Govinda Raj Bhattarai, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

A man should first direct himself in the way he should go. Only then should he instruct others, says Lord Buddha, considering the duty of a teacher. This is an age-old dictum, yet its value has never faded away, nor will it be so even in the distant future. Actually, a teacher practices examples, he should shun away from preaching only. His character and nobility, his personality and perseverance count thousand times, valuable than his degrees and diplomas.  A teacher instills humane values in the learners, not merely does he teach the students the tricks of life, and he teaches them its mystery and beauty as well.

In modern sense, he becomes a facilitator pointing always at the ideal path—without enforcing, without coercing he should direct them, he doesn’t rule their mind, instead, wins thousand hearts.  Psychologically, he attracts the learners towards a world of harmony, patience, love, courage and achievement. See, how the words of Galileo echo until today: You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.Therefore, let our students find the unending treasure  of mystery and possibility lying within themselves, let us help them eschew away from sheer automata and mechanical repetitiveness because creativity has no repetition. The teacher will be truly a facilitator in modern sense.

All eternal messages are inscribed long ago. They echo in the ether time and again. A true teacher should listen to these words. Let us listen to Horace Mann: A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. Let us stop and think, are we hammering on cold iron or are we stroking the budding flowers that may bear infinite color and smell and touch and feel?

If You and English Teacher

Prof. Gobinda Bhattarai, Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

Teaching is greatest of jobs on earth, a happiest moment to spend; only a luckiest person can internalize these values and thank God for appointing him or her for the noble task of being a teacher. It is the only moment when someone is face to face with innumerable souls with divergent interests and capacity, inclination, and probability. To live with these thriving souls, to talk with them and watch them grow every moment is a mystery, and a great joy.

A true teacher is a sage—performing humblest of duties on earth—of shaping innumerable souls in the mould of humanity, not in the format of an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a business person, a lawyer, or an administrator.

One should first of all learn these immortal values before being a teacher. It they fail to do so, they will justify Wilde’s saying: Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching. Are we also incapable of learning?

Of course, if we fail to understand the mystery of teaching, the glory of being a teacher and the beauty underlying it, we fail to learn, we are incapable of learning.  A true teacher should never fail to learn.

Nelta Choutari October Issue

In this issue we have an article “If you are a teacher….?” by Professor Govinda Raj Bhattarai. The article has raised some philosophical issues regarding the role of a teacher. We hope you will enjoy reading article given bellow. Please read and comment on the post below.

In addition, Sajan Karna from Birgunja has contributed an article on Englishisation in which he talks about how Nepali English way of using English is increasing and its implication in ELT. Please  read and comment on the articlebelow.

If You are a Teacher…?

IF you are a teacher,……….?

Govinda Raj Bhattarai, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

A man should first direct himself in the way he should go. Only then should he instruct others, says Lord Buddha, considering the duty of a teacher. This is an age-old dictum, yet its value has never faded away, nor will it be so even in the distant future. Actually, a teacher practices examples, he should shun away from preaching only. His character and nobility, his personality and perseverance count thousand times, valuable than his degrees and diplomas.  A teacher instills humane values in the learners, not merely does he teach the students the tricks of life, and he teaches them its mystery and beauty as well.

In modern sense, he becomes a facilitator pointing always at the ideal path—without enforcing, without coercing he should direct them, he doesn’t rule their mind, instead, wins thousand hearts.  Psychologically, he attracts the learners towards a world of harmony, patience, love, courage and achievement. See, how the words of Galileo echo until today: You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.Therefore, let our students find the unending treasure  of mystery and possibility lying within themselves, let us help them eschew away from sheer automata and mechanical repetitiveness because creativity has no repetition. The teacher will be truly a facilitator in modern sense.

All eternal messages are inscribed long ago. They echo in the ether time and again. A true teacher should listen to these words. Let us listen to Horace Mann: A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. Let us stop and think, are we hammering on cold iron or are we stroking the budding flowers that may bear infinite color and smell and touch and feel?

Teaching is greatest of jobs on earth, a happiest moment to spend; only a luckiest person can internalize these values and thank God for appointing him or her for the noble task of being a teacher. It is the only moment when someone is face to face with innumerable souls with divergent interests and capacity, inclination, and probability. To live with these thriving souls, to talk with them and watch them grow every moment is a mystery, and a great joy.

A true teacher is a sage—performing humblest of duties on earth—of shaping innumerable souls in the mould of humanity, not in the format of an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a business person, a lawyer, or an administrator.

One should first of all learn these immortal values before being a teacher. It they fail to do so, they will justify Wilde’s saying: Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching. Are we also incapable of learning?

Of course, if we fail to understand the mystery of teaching, the glory of being a teacher and the beauty underlying it, we fail to learn, we are incapable of learning.  A true teacher should never fail to learn.

English as a Bonus

Englishization is a bonus

By Sajan Kumar Karn, NELTA Birgunj

Do you agree that ‘Englishization is a boon in Nepal? What makes you think so? Do the following rationales speak your heart and mind? If not, why? Feel free to comment. The platform is yours.

What is Englishization?
The English language in Nepal is said to have two faces i.e. Englishization of the Nepalese languages and nativization of English. Minimally, the term Englishization can be interpreted as the influence exercised by the English language upon non-English languages such as Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Newar, Limbu etc. The adoption and adaptation of English words and phrases in Nepalese literary writings (true to say, in all sorts of writing) and daily conversation is perceived rampantly which has led to the increasing hybridization of languages (English+Nepali, English+Maithili, English+Bhojpuri etc.). Likewise, the other close manifestation of English is its nativization. Nativization of English has already been sprouting by leaps and bounds in Nepal. Many papers have been presented and articles have been written to argue that a distinct variety English is budding in Nepal. Englishization and nativization have become global phenomena today, however. Hinglish, Singlish, Anglish, Menglish, Philippine English, Nenglish etc. are some of the instances of Nativized Englishes used in different parts of the world. This interfulence (Englishization and nativization) of English and Nepalese languages is observed at all levels -phonological, grammatical and semantic and at both the modes–speech and writing, which is not the concern of this article, however. The rest of this article uses the term Englishization to refer to both-Englishization and nativization since both seem to have similar effect ultimately(for many) and also in order to be economical. Many people have argued that the interfluence caused by Englishization does not only confine to the language (speech or writing) of the speaker, rather it escalates gradually and weighs upon her lifestyle, education, culture, identity, and virtually on her entire personality in such a way that she virtually becomes Englishized (Westernised or Americanised) goodbyeing her own original identity and culture. However, Englishization has become an inevitable global phenomenon and world’s numerous languages have been hybridized and there is little evidence that people have utterly been denativized. Adoption (Owning English and giving it a native perfume) and adaptation (use of English words and phrases in different way) are speeding so massively today that it can hardly be impeded in near future. Whereas some nations embraced English because of colonization in the past, others have acknowledged it owing to its instrumental value and still others seem to have owned and nurtured it unintentionally. Whatever may be the reason in the wake of Englishization, the issue has stimulated heated controversies amongst intellectuals. Whereas some have labeled Englishization as neo-colonization, others have taken it as a productive indicator for the prosperity of the country and people.

Let us observe the following expressions collected from new generation Nepalese speeches on different occasions:

a. Yo mahina ko salary kahile dine hola-malai kasto khancho parisakyo?The equivalent for salary-talab is almost non-existent in new generation Nepali speech.
b. Nepal ma ta kehi system nai chaina bhanya? Who uses parnali?
c. NELTA le
every year international conference organize garchaa.
Out of seven words, how many are Nepali?
d.
British council charity organization ho.
e.
Final exam ko lagi ramro preparation gara.
f. TU ta aba
certificate distribution centre banisakyo.
g. Sthapit sir ko
way of teaching nikai down –to- earth thiyo.
h.
Look! ma creative writer banna chahanchu tara family circumstance le diraheko chaina.
i. Aajako
weather kati sunny chha
j.
Langauge institute gaeko, tuition fee ta ekdum highpay garnai nasakne.

These are only some instances of the Englishized Nepali. English words have become so overriding in the mother tongue expressions(above) that equivalent mother tongue words are gradually disappearing form young generation conversation, which has become a matter of concern for many of us.

Let us now observe some Nepalised English:
a. Sunil looked at the speaker and namested him……(Rai, 2008: New Generation English)
b. My daughter reads in Nursery.
c. Gita Miss is so strict but Bina Miss is good.
d. Heartly welcome to Tribhuvan University.
e. Ram is very proudy.
f. One ladies teacher asked my name and went away.
g. Thousands of people sacrificed for Loktantra in Nepal.
h. Ram sir did not teach us today, Shyam sir engaged his class, instead.
i. Could you give me your dot pen please?
j. Loadshedding is killing us.

It would be very interesting to calculate the percent o f Nepali in (so-called) Nepali expressions and that of English in (so called) English expressions. This makes me often ask myself (and everyone I believe): what language do we speak? The noticeable thing in the above example sentences is that Englishization and Nepalization have occurred not because of obligation but because of will. Even if Nepali possesses the words, English equivalents are used and even if English has the words, equivalent Nepali words are used but intentionally. Is it because the speakers want to appear elegant, intelligent, and erudite? Or English is so much used that it has become extremely common to use pidginized language across the world? Should we let it go? If yes, why? If not, why? This article seeks to find the answers to these questions.

Should Englishization be promoted?

The following could be the reasons why Englishization should be promoted in Nepal.

God’s endowment
The almighty has gifted Nepalese with a flair for using so many languages and if they use English, the most extensively used language in the universe; they commit no sin. A Slovakian proverb highlights the importance of learning a new language in these words “With each newly learnt language, you acquire a new soul”. Similarly, a French proverb adds: “A man who knows two languages is worth two men”. Knowing and using English, we enrich ourselves with English arts, culture and trades, and we also add a new personality (Crystal, 2000:44).

English linguistic imperialism ends with nativization
Philipson (2007:47.) defines English linguistic imperialism as “the dominance of English asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages”. Nevertheless, linguistic imperialism as advocated by Phllipson (2007) ends with the owning of English. A lot of people such as Gandhi (1927) protested against the intoxication, denationalization and mental slavery induced by English in the past. Nevertheless, when the matter of nativization of the English language comes to the fore, linguistic and cultural imperialism seems to fade away gradually. The only need is to shape the English language in accordance with our own culture and soil. Further, with the new Englishes growing around the world, the ideology must end and English should rather be treated as a means of empowerment.

English fetches success
Englishization and prosperity are interlinked. Larsen- Freeman (2007) says ‘English is the key to successes’. Everyone wants success in life. If it is English which fetches success, what wrong is there in adopting and adapting it? Further she maintains “English is regarded as gateway to wealth for national economies, organizations and individuals”.

English is a killer language?
Many have said that English is a killer language and therefore promotion of it infers the loss of linguistic diversity of a country, which, however, has proved wrong. Graddol (2006) maintains “English is not the main reason for global language loss. The impact of English is mainly on the status of other national languages”. In other words, spread of English is not the direct cause of language endangerment. English in fact had its effects on national (major languages) not on regional and minority languages. In many countries, it is the national language, such as Nepali that threatens local languages, not English.

Colonization has proved advantageous
Although people criticize the European colonization in the past, the countries that were colonized are also found to have been luckier to those which were not. This is because in many cases, the victim countries could exploit English speaking colonial heritage and which connected them to global economy, for instance, India (Graddol, 2006). We have heard many Nepalese lamenting that it would have been better for Nepal, had it been colonized. However, it does not conclude that we expect any form of colonization in the future but it only suggests that English proved better for them.

English widens our horizons
Use of English internationalizes us. Our horizon of knowledge does not remain localized rather our potentiality and prospects get widened. The world is narrowing down into a global village and therefore, it is only English that links Nepalese to the non-Nepali communities. At the time when the concept of world citizen is in vogue, narrowing down ourselves would be nothing but chauvinism.

Nepal can house one more
A home to enormous linguistic diversity, the greater Himalayan region’s lap does not fall short to house one more language (English). The country which has accommodated 123 languages can accommodate one more. Continuing with English, we do not subtract from our repertoires.

English is the treasure
English is the treasure of knowledge available in the world. Avoiding English, we will only put ourselves at semi-darkness. More than half of the world books are written in English. About a third of world newspapers are published in English. Do not we want to read and obtain information and pleasure out of them?

One more but new identity
Who says: using English we lose our own identity and culture? We rather add to us one more language, one additional culture and thus one extra but new identity. Further, learning English does not mean forgetting our own culture and language. There is little evidence that core values of Nepalese have been changed owing to influence of English. Therefore, there is no question of Englishized ( Westernised or Americanised) identity of Nepalese students or people. The growth of nativized Englishes does not pose the problem of identity crisis, rather has facilitated the speakers to signal identity through English.

English is our appendage
English is no longer the exclusive possession of any English speaking countries like the UK, the USA or Australia or Canada; instead it has become our own asset today. We also know very well that non-native speakers of English have already outnumbered the native speakers. Today, we are at the juncture from where we can not imagine Nepal without English. Our observation should be, “we need English and we need more English, our forthcoming generations need even more English to survive at both national and international spheres”.

Do not pluck the bud
You can not preserve and promote one language suppressing or killing others. Therefore, our efforts should be geared towards how English can be owned. English is budding in Nepal and it should be reared carefully to meet our linguistic needs.

Summing up
Whereas some are of the opinion that English is the need of the nation: others have strongly criticized the Englishization. They have every right to use sharp words to criticize English such as hegemony, linguistic colonization, linguistic and cultural imperialism and so forth , but they should not close the eyes to the reality that English has become the flesh and blood of academia and deprived of which the educational world would feel underprivileged. The use of Englishized Nepali or Nepalese languages should neither surprise and nor worry us as it is something like a universal phenomenon today. Purity in languages is hard to find at post-modern era. Also, the invasion is mutual i.e. not only Nepali and other Nepalese languages have been invaded by English but English has ever adopted inclusive attitude towards loan words. As Crystal(2004:27) puts “English is a vacuum-cleaner of a language, readily sucking in words from whichever languages it meets-well over 350 of them in the history of British English”. Further, since English is in the process of becoming our own language, it is futile to protest against the alienation that can be induced by English. Upon scrutiny, Englishization can prove advantageous if planned cautiously to meet national linguistic and cultural needs. New English in Nepal can serve the function of expressing national identity if Nepalese cultural heritage is added to it. Further, the role of the new English language in the New Nepal can hardly exaggerated as this can stand as the icon of unity and national harmony since all other languages have been alleged to belong to specific communities. English can be a fair instrument to strengthen loktantra and promote human rights.

References
Crystal, D. 2000. Language Death. Cambridge: CUP.
Crystal, D. 2004. The Language Revolution. Cambridge: Polity  Press Ltd.

Graddol, D.2006. English Next. London: The British Council.
Larsen-Freeman, D. 2007. Teaching and Learning English: From     Ideology to Empowerment. In
Journal of NELTA. Kathmandu: NELTA.
Philipson, R. 2007. Linguistic Imperialism. New Delhi: OUP.
Rai, V.S. 2006. English, Hinglish and Nenglish. In Journal of         NELTA. Kathmandu: NELTA.

English as a Bonus

Englishization is a bonus

By Sajan Kumar Karn, NELTA Birgunj

Do you agree that ‘Englishization is a boon in Nepal? What makes you think so? Do the following rationales speak your heart and mind? If not, why? Feel free to comment. The platform is yours.

What is Englishization?
The English language in Nepal is said to have two faces i.e. Englishization of the Nepalese languages and nativization of English. Minimally, the term Englishization can be interpreted as the influence exercised by the English language upon non-English languages such as Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Newar, Limbu etc. The adoption and adaptation of English words and phrases in Nepalese literary writings (true to say, in all sorts of writing) and daily conversation is perceived rampantly which has led to the increasing hybridization of languages (English+Nepali, English+Maithili, English+Bhojpuri etc.). Likewise, the other close manifestation of English is its nativization. Nativization of English has already been sprouting by leaps and bounds in Nepal. Many papers have been presented and articles have been written to argue that a distinct variety English is budding in Nepal. Englishization and nativization have become global phenomena today, however. Hinglish, Singlish, Anglish, Menglish, Philippine English, Nenglish etc. are some of the instances of Nativized Englishes used in different parts of the world. This interfulence (Englishization and nativization) of English and Nepalese languages is observed at all levels -phonological, grammatical and semantic and at both the modes–speech and writing, which is not the concern of this article, however. The rest of this article uses the term Englishization to refer to both-Englishization and nativization since both seem to have similar effect ultimately(for many) and also in order to be economical. Many people have argued that the interfluence caused by Englishization does not only confine to the language (speech or writing) of the speaker, rather it escalates gradually and weighs upon her lifestyle, education, culture, identity, and virtually on her entire personality in such a way that she virtually becomes Englishized (Westernised or Americanised) goodbyeing her own original identity and culture. However, Englishization has become an inevitable global phenomenon and world’s numerous languages have been hybridized and there is little evidence that people have utterly been denativized. Adoption (Owning English and giving it a native perfume) and adaptation (use of English words and phrases in different way) are speeding so massively today that it can hardly be impeded in near future. Whereas some nations embraced English because of colonization in the past, others have acknowledged it owing to its instrumental value and still others seem to have owned and nurtured it unintentionally. Whatever may be the reason in the wake of Englishization, the issue has stimulated heated controversies amongst intellectuals. Whereas some have labeled Englishization as neo-colonization, others have taken it as a productive indicator for the prosperity of the country and people.

Let us observe the following expressions collected from new generation Nepalese speeches on different occasions:

a. Yo mahina ko salary kahile dine hola-malai kasto khancho parisakyo?The equivalent for salary-talab is almost non-existent in new generation Nepali speech.
b. Nepal ma ta kehi system nai chaina bhanya? Who uses parnali?
c. NELTA le every year international conference organize garchaa.
Out of seven words, how many are Nepali?
d. British council charity organization ho.
e. Final exam ko lagi ramro preparation gara.
f. TU ta aba certificate distribution centre banisakyo.
g. Sthapit sir ko way of teaching nikai down –to- earth thiyo.
h. Look! ma creative writer banna chahanchu tara family circumstance le diraheko chaina.
i. Aajako weather kati sunny chha
j. Langauge institute gaeko, tuition fee ta ekdum high –pay garnai nasakne.

These are only some instances of the Englishized Nepali. English words have become so overriding in the mother tongue expressions(above) that equivalent mother tongue words are gradually disappearing form young generation conversation, which has become a matter of concern for many of us.

Let us now observe some Nepalised English:
a. Sunil looked at the speaker and namested him……(Rai, 2008: New Generation English)
b. My daughter reads in Nursery.
c. Gita Miss is so strict but Bina Miss is good.
d. Heartly welcome to Tribhuvan University.
e. Ram is very proudy.
f. One ladies teacher asked my name and went away.
g. Thousands of people sacrificed for Loktantra in Nepal.
h. Ram sir did not teach us today, Shyam sir engaged his class, instead.
i. Could you give me your dot pen please?
j. Loadshedding is killing us.

It would be very interesting to calculate the percent o f Nepali in (so-called) Nepali expressions and that of English in (so called) English expressions. This makes me often ask myself (and everyone I believe): what language do we speak? The noticeable thing in the above example sentences is that Englishization and Nepalization have occurred not because of obligation but because of will. Even if Nepali possesses the words, English equivalents are used and even if English has the words, equivalent Nepali words are used but intentionally. Is it because the speakers want to appear elegant, intelligent, and erudite? Or English is so much used that it has become extremely common to use pidginized language across the world? Should we let it go? If yes, why? If not, why? This article seeks to find the answers to these questions.

Should Englishization be promoted?

The following could be the reasons why Englishization should be promoted in Nepal.

God’s endowment
The almighty has gifted Nepalese with a flair for using so many languages and if they use English, the most extensively used language in the universe; they commit no sin. A Slovakian proverb highlights the importance of learning a new language in these words “With each newly learnt language, you acquire a new soul”. Similarly, a French proverb adds: “A man who knows two languages is worth two men”. Knowing and using English, we enrich ourselves with English arts, culture and trades, and we also add a new personality (Crystal, 2000:44).

English linguistic imperialism ends with nativization
Philipson (2007:47.) defines English linguistic imperialism as “the dominance of English asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages”. Nevertheless, linguistic imperialism as advocated by Phllipson (2007) ends with the owning of English. A lot of people such as Gandhi (1927) protested against the intoxication, denationalization and mental slavery induced by English in the past. Nevertheless, when the matter of nativization of the English language comes to the fore, linguistic and cultural imperialism seems to fade away gradually. The only need is to shape the English language in accordance with our own culture and soil. Further, with the new Englishes growing around the world, the ideology must end and English should rather be treated as a means of empowerment.

English fetches success
Englishization and prosperity are interlinked. Larsen- Freeman (2007) says ‘English is the key to successes’. Everyone wants success in life. If it is English which fetches success, what wrong is there in adopting and adapting it? Further she maintains “English is regarded as gateway to wealth for national economies, organizations and individuals”.

English is a killer language?
Many have said that English is a killer language and therefore promotion of it infers the loss of linguistic diversity of a country, which, however, has proved wrong. Graddol (2006) maintains “English is not the main reason for global language loss. The impact of English is mainly on the status of other national languages”. In other words, spread of English is not the direct cause of language endangerment. English in fact had its effects on national (major languages) not on regional and minority languages. In many countries, it is the national language, such as Nepali that threatens local languages, not English.

Colonization has proved advantageous
Although people criticize the European colonization in the past, the countries that were colonized are also found to have been luckier to those which were not. This is because in many cases, the victim countries could exploit English speaking colonial heritage and which connected them to global economy, for instance, India (Graddol, 2006). We have heard many Nepalese lamenting that it would have been better for Nepal, had it been colonized. However, it does not conclude that we expect any form of colonization in the future but it only suggests that English proved better for them.

English widens our horizons
Use of English internationalizes us. Our horizon of knowledge does not remain localized rather our potentiality and prospects get widened. The world is narrowing down into a global village and therefore, it is only English that links Nepalese to the non-Nepali communities. At the time when the concept of world citizen is in vogue, narrowing down ourselves would be nothing but chauvinism.

Nepal can house one more
A home to enormous linguistic diversity, the greater Himalayan region’s lap does not fall short to house one more language (English). The country which has accommodated 123 languages can accommodate one more. Continuing with English, we do not subtract from our repertoires.

English is the treasure
English is the treasure of knowledge available in the world. Avoiding English, we will only put ourselves at semi-darkness. More than half of the world books are written in English. About a third of world newspapers are published in English. Do not we want to read and obtain information and pleasure out of them?

One more but new identity
Who says: using English we lose our own identity and culture? We rather add to us one more language, one additional culture and thus one extra but new identity. Further, learning English does not mean forgetting our own culture and language. There is little evidence that core values of Nepalese have been changed owing to influence of English. Therefore, there is no question of Englishized ( Westernised or Americanised) identity of Nepalese students or people. The growth of nativized Englishes does not pose the problem of identity crisis, rather has facilitated the speakers to signal identity through English.

English is our appendage
English is no longer the exclusive possession of any English speaking countries like the UK, the USA or Australia or Canada; instead it has become our own asset today. We also know very well that non-native speakers of English have already outnumbered the native speakers. Today, we are at the juncture from where we can not imagine Nepal without English. Our observation should be, “we need English and we need more English, our forthcoming generations need even more English to survive at both national and international spheres”.

Do not pluck the bud
You can not preserve and promote one language suppressing or killing others. Therefore, our efforts should be geared towards how English can be owned. English is budding in Nepal and it should be reared carefully to meet our linguistic needs.

Summing up
Whereas some are of the opinion that English is the need of the nation: others have strongly criticized the Englishization. They have every right to use sharp words to criticize English such as hegemony, linguistic colonization, linguistic and cultural imperialism and so forth , but they should not close the eyes to the reality that English has become the flesh and blood of academia and deprived of which the educational world would feel underprivileged. The use of Englishized Nepali or Nepalese languages should neither surprise and nor worry us as it is something like a universal phenomenon today. Purity in languages is hard to find at post-modern era. Also, the invasion is mutual i.e. not only Nepali and other Nepalese languages have been invaded by English but English has ever adopted inclusive attitude towards loan words. As Crystal(2004:27) puts “English is a vacuum-cleaner of a language, readily sucking in words from whichever languages it meets-well over 350 of them in the history of British English”. Further, since English is in the process of becoming our own language, it is futile to protest against the alienation that can be induced by English. Upon scrutiny, Englishization can prove advantageous if planned cautiously to meet national linguistic and cultural needs. New English in Nepal can serve the function of expressing national identity if Nepalese cultural heritage is added to it. Further, the role of the new English language in the New Nepal can hardly exaggerated as this can stand as the icon of unity and national harmony since all other languages have been alleged to belong to specific communities. English can be a fair instrument to strengthen loktantra and promote human rights.

References
Crystal, D. 2000. Language Death. Cambridge: CUP.
Crystal, D. 2004. The Language Revolution. Cambridge: Polity

Press Ltd.
Graddol, D.2006. English Next. London: The British Council.
Larsen-Freeman, D. 2007. Teaching and Learning English: From Ideology to Empowerment. In
Journal of NELTA. Kathmandu: NELTA.
Philipson, R. 2007. Linguistic Imperialism. New Delhi: OUP.
Rai, V.S. 2006. English, Hinglish and Nenglish. In Journal of NELTA. Kathmandu: NELTA.

English as an Official Language in Nepal

In this time of growing tension of the status of languages in Nepal, I believe we need to discuss some issues related to English. English is not mentioned in debates among the public or in the government nor in the speech of political leaders. But we can see that English is using more and more in banks, markets, products, email, etc. Sometimes code-switching used too much.

In this context, should English be another official language in the era of globalization? What might be its positive and negative consequences? Can Nepal be empowered with English?

Please response yourself. I request all our gurus and gurumas, all nelta executives and members, all well wishers, all subscribers to write thier views. I hope writing will relish oneself. Let’s make this discussion.

Thanks

Sincerely yours

Santosh Bhattarai

Nelta’s History

Birth of NELTA

NELTA was born in the British Council Nepal in 1992 when its first meeting was held in the British Council Office. I remember the day when Mr. David Pottinger, then Assistant Director of the British Council wrote the minutes of the first meeting on a plain sheet of paper and all the members who attended the meeting promised to keep this association away from all the organisational ills including politics and favouritism. It was, thus, established as a non-government, non-political, non-profit making, professional association with the aims of improving ELT situation. The need to improve the teaching and learning of the English language, thereby keeping abreast of new development in ELT, lay the foundation of NELTA. The other members present in the meeting were Mr. Jai Raj Awasthi (currently the professor of English Education), Dr. Tirth Raj Khaniya (currently the professor of English Education), Mr. Ram Ashish Giri, Mr. Ratna Bahadur Bajracharya, Principal of Anandhakuti Vidyapith, Mrs. Meera Shrestha and myself. The meeting assigned Mr. Awasthi to draft NELTA constitution and an committee was formed. This is the first milestone that NELTA set in its journey.

The justifications to its birth were many. To recall some of them are listed below:

  • The mjority of English teachers in Nepal were untrained and no EFL qualifications were/are required to become an English teacher. Thus, some kind of initiation to familiarise them with the ELT pedagogy was a must.
  • All the teachers’ associations that exist in Nepal were affiliated to political parties and functioning as trade unions. But NELTA was established exclusively for professional development of English language teachers.
  • Teachers could hardly participate in the professional development activities during that time because of lack of professional organizations.
  • The ever-increasing demand of English grew higher and higher due to the expansion of business and tourism sectors with the restoration of democracy in the country.
  • The Ministry of Education was in the verge of revising the ELT syllabus in school level. The shift from Structural teaching to Communicative teaching demanded massive teacher training orientation which the government could not do alone.

(Mr. Gautam, one of the founding members of NELTA, is now its Senior Vice-President. If you would like to read the full article published in NELTA journal, please click here. Note that the dates and details in this article are not current, but the article is relevant and interesting from a historical point of view.)

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