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)

Give task, let students speak

Give task, let students speak

Prem Phyak

Introduction

As part of my teaching duty I observe more than thirty student-teachers during their practicum classes every year; and I provide feedback to the student-teachers in order to help make their teaching more effective. I have found most student-teachers have good classroom delivery with strong content knowledge. For example, I have observed many of the student-teachers introduce William Wordsworth’s poem “My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold…” They provide good biographic details about Wordsworth. They explain his writing style and the topic by giving reference to his past work. However, I have rarely found these student-teachers involving their students in group or pair discussions, or asking questions in order to encourage their students to think critically about the poem.

I have also observed secondary and higher secondary classes where the teacher spends the entire lesson (45 minutes) explaining the rules of where prepositions ‘in’ ‘on’ and ‘at’ are used. Students in these classrooms listen to lectures by the teacher. The students appear to lack enthusiasm due to the confusing examples and rules of the grammar. When asked, the teachers commenting on their own class say that they feel more comfortable when students remain quiet and simply listen to them rather than when the learners interact with each other.

Do students learn English if they remain silent? Do they develop their critical thinking skills if teachers spoon-feed them without engaging them in classroom discussion and allowing for interaction? Does language teaching mean more teacher-talk and less student-talk? How can we as teachers engage the learners in classroom interaction while teaching English? These are the major issues I will discuss in this article. I argue that by giving a ‘task’, not lecture, we can promote student participation in the classroom, which ultimately enhances their critical thinking skills.

Task: what is it?

A ‘task’ is an activity which promotes interaction among students by focusing on the meaning or message of language (Willis, 1996; Ellis, 2003). A task can be, for example, filling-in an application form, composing an e-mail message, drawing a street map according to instructions, or showing the differences between two pictures. In order to accomplish the task, students have to communicate sufficiently with their classmates in the classroom. While communicating in a group or in pairs students focus on the negotiation of meaning, i.e. they use different strategies such as comprehension checks, clarification requests and confirmation checks (Ellis, 2003). For example, instead of giving a long lecture about a poem, a teacher can ask students to read the poem aloud in groups, write their own interpretations and let the students present in the classroom. In this process the students work together, which provides opportunities for them to interact with each other by focussing on ‘meaning’. In general, a task should have a purpose and involve a variety of thinking processes, a context in which the task takes place, and a product or result of thinking and doing the task.

Form or meaning?
A form is a grammatical structure which allows students to construct correct sentences. Students construct a sentence with past simple tense using the past form of verbs, for example. In this sense, even sentences like John killed a stone, Anita kissed a stone seem grammatically correct since they “fit” the structure of the past simple tense. However, the sentences are not understandable in a real-life situation. This indicates that teaching students English only to use the correct form makes no sense when they have to engage in real-life communication. Considering the teaching of grammar equivalent to the teaching of the English language in our context (still the dominating belief) has, I think, diminished students’ potential to use English in real-life situations. If we are focusing only on grammar we are making students just followers of rules, making them passive and not helping them generate ideas.

Against this backdrop, giving a task not only engages students in interaction in the classroom, but also bridges the gap between a real-life context and the classroom situation (Nunan, 2004). We can ask students to interact in pairs in order to find out about a frightening moment they have experienced, to draw a picture to illustrate that moment and then show the picture to other students in the classroom. By doing so, the students not only use English to explain and learn about the details of what, when, where and how the event occurred, but also explore and use language appropriate for real communication.

Focused tasks
A task is not only useful for student interaction, but for teaching grammatical items as well. Teachers can provide different types of tasks in order to make the teaching of grammar effective and interactive. Research studies, and my experience as well, suggest most children do not enjoy learning grammar in the classroom. Students seem to feel grammar classes are dry and monotonous. Many teachers simply explain the grammar rules rather than involve the students in any form of real interaction. By doing so, we are making the learning of grammar more difficult for students. Moreover, we are making them passive learners.

We can design different tasks to make grammar teaching/learning a more positive experience. For example, we can give a story completion task in which students work together in a group to explore a story by asking each other questions. By doing this students learn how to use wh-questions (e.g. Where does the boy/girl come from?), do/auxiliary questions (e.g. Do they eat meat? Are they laughing?) along with many more structures. In the same way, instead of describing a picture teachers can ask students to show the differences between two similar pictures in order to teach the students how to form wh-questions, negatives, yes/no questions and so on.

Learning critically

Many teachers believe learning the English language means only to listen, speak, read and write in English. However, such a concept may not necessarily promote the thinking skills of the students. In order to develop the students’ communicative ability, we ask students to listen to and read an English text and then ask questions just to check whether the students understood the text. Teachers provide students with a particular exponent and ask them to use it in a piece of conversation following a model. Such a teaching method may not encourage students to be independent learners and thinkers.

Many teachers evaluate students’ performance on the basis of whether the students provide “the right answer”. Those who provide the right answer are supposed to be better than those who do not. But we never analyse why students do not understand and/or why they are not motivated to read and listen to a text. Teachers rarely ask students why they answered as they did.

Many teachers do not encourage their students to interact with the text and their friends in the classroom. Instead of involving the students in doing tasks that encourage them to analyse, discuss, debate, question and synthesize the ideas given in the text into students’ own socio-cultural contexts, teachers try to influence the students with their own interpretations. Instead of trying to influence the students with the teacher’s interpretation, we can encourage students to develop their own interpretation. For example, if a text is about Women in America, we can ask students to read the text and discuss a comparison with the position of women in Nepal. We can ask the students to discuss how the beliefs and attitudes towards women in America and Nepal are different. This can be done in the pairs or small groups. Topics including education, the economy and politics are some of the issues students can be encouraged to discuss, again in pairs or small groups. Such tasks not only promote collaborative learning skills (Golub, 1988) but also involve the students in the critical thinking process and promote independent learning.

However, there are some crucial points to be considered in designing a task. The foremost point is the language level of the students. For beginners, we can give simple tasks such as describing pictures, following instructions, grouping objects, and gap filling. In such tasks we encourage students to generate a variety of ideas rather than say this is right and that is wrong. While asking questions (e.g. why do you think so?), students need to be able to express their own ideas in a comfortable environment, one that encourages the students to express their ideas in English. However, some students may not be able to express their ideas fluently. In that context, teachers should help by facilitating the expression process as opposed to overtly correcting the students. If we encourage students to ask questions and express agreement and/or disagreement with the ideas given in the text and that of the teacher, the students can develop skills to be independent learners.

Designing a ‘Task’
Most task-based lessons involve three logical stages: pre-task, during task and post-task (Willis, 1996). In the pre-task stage, teachers and students plan a task collaboratively, and become familiar with what they are going to do. This is the stage groups are formed and teachers give instruction to the students. Moreover, teachers can provide models in order to familiarise students with the types of activities they are doing to accomplish the task, and decide whether the purpose of the task is to teach form (grammar) or content.

In the second stage students are involved in doing the task. There are different options for performing the task depending on the need of the students and the complexity of the task. Usually young children need close guidance and input from the teacher, whereas older students can work more independently. In this stage, teachers can provide necessary information in order to make their task more outcome-oriented. In the same way, teachers can limit the time of the task completion so that the students can focus on the specific activities. During the whole process, working in a group, students consolidate different ideas to complete the task.

In the post-task stage, students are provided a chance to repeat the performance of the task in groups or individually, reflect on how the task was accomplished and raise awareness on the grammatical form. The students look back and analyse how the task was performed, who played what roles and what problems occurred during the task.

Conclusion
By engaging in tasks, students can develop three important skills: cooperation, communication and critical thinking. The studies have also shown that a task can integrate four language skills and engages learners in ‘cognitive processes’ (e.g. selecting, classifying, and reasoning) in order to achieve a fixed ‘outcome’. However, the designing of a task requires rigorous planning on the part of the teacher in order to ensure that the task focuses on meaning (not on form), has a fixed outcome and reflects authentic use of language (real-life language).

A task should also be appropriate for the socio-cultural context, learning practices and expectations of teaching/learning English in Nepal. We as teachers have to design the tasks which utilize local contexts and students are familiar with, so that the students can negotiate with classmates in learning English actively. Thus instead of planning what we are going to say about a particular text or an activity, we need to plan what activities or tasks (related to the lesson) can be conducted in the classroom.

Acknowledgements to Gretchen Coppedge and Laxman Gnawali for comment on the first draft)

Further Readings

Eckerth, J. and Siekmann, S. (2008) (Eds.). Task-based language learning and teaching: theoretical, methodological and pedagogical perspectives. Peter Lang: Berlin.

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Golub, J.  (1988). (Ed). Focus on Collaborative Learning. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English,

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Willis, J. (1996) Willis, J. (1996). A framework for task-based learning. Harlow, U.K.: Longman Addison- Wesley.

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

ELT in New Nepal: A Means for Republican and Global Knowledge-Sharing

Nelta Choutari September 2009 Issue

Shyam Sharma

Recently the question of whether English should/could become a link language or one of the official languages of New Nepal has been quite interestingly discussed among Nelta colleagues. This discussion has been a lucky background to the September issue of Nelta Choutari that I am responsible to put together.

Ganga Gautam and Santosh Bhattarai in particular brought up the issue that English could possibly serve as a “link” or “official” language in the new Nepal. Using an external language would in some ways create a new platform where the language of the politically dominant communities that speak Nepali (Khas) would have a competing alternative for the linguistically less privileged communities. Indeed, we have long ignored linguistic diversity in our country in the name of (in effect) a one nation one language policy. The use of English as one of the link/official languages (if not the official language) would also help the new nation, as Kashi suggests, in competing in the global intellectual market. As Prem and Bal have pointed out, however, the “neutrality” of English, must not be taken without some critical thinking: we should remember that there is already a state of unequal access to English, as seen in the two classes created by public and private schools, further reinforcing difference of social and economic classes. It would be too naïve for teachers like us to celebrate the use of a foreign language simply because it can bring about practical conveniences, is financially viable, or has such other incidental benefits.

We can address the challenges as well as take advantage of using English as a link/official language if we, teachers of English, understand and act by understanding that we are not only teachers of a language: we are not, or should not be, only and absolutely “language instructors” who teach the grammar and sentence structure and social expressions of English to our students. We must be educators who know that education must empower learners, that teaching must mean helping learners become creators of new knowledge, and that pedagogy must be a politically responsible profession. (“Politics” here has nothing to do with parties, with policies, or with governance: it is a matter of being critically aware of the impact of our action on the society, a matter of social responsibility and sense of justice towards our students, and a matter of intellectual sensibility that makes the teaching of language a part of educating people and contributing to the society). We must be the bearers of the torch of knowledge for our society, and we must know that that role is all the more important at such a time of political and cultural upheaval in the country. We must also be intellectuals who connect our world of knowledge to other worlds of knowledge outside. We are responsible to promote the creation of knowledge from our own local bases—our experience, our heritage, our realities—for that is the only way that our future generations will not end up only reading books written by others but also write themselves. Honestly, if our students needed just the language, they could fulfill that objective significantly well by helping themselves with an English language learning handbook available in Bhotahity. We don’t have to teach someone a language for ten, twelve, or sixteen years–unless we also mean to educate people through or with it and with a view to achieving larger educational goals of the society. To look at ourselves as only language masters would be like using a Pentium 5 computer as a paperweight! We must be educators who know the larger educational context in which we are teaching language. If we limit ourselves to the mission of teaching language and language per se, we will continue to make our profession as shameful as it is indicated by Balkrishna’s example:

Have you ever been kissed by a stranger?
Do you prefer ham or steak?

It is absurd to teach English, as in using the educational material above, without respect for the students’ and their society’s values, experiences, meanings, and identities. Therefore, it will make little sense if English is made the lingua franca for the new nation without the society, and its educators, considering what social, cultural, and political impacts it might have on the many communities, many languages, many cultures of this country. This is by no means intended to reject the idea of English as a common language in the new nation and among the varied linguistic communities in it. It is rather to suggest that the discussion must not stop at the point where the suggestion for that possibility is made. In the context of the discussion that is taking place among us, we should pursue the hypothesis presented by Ganga Gautam and Santosh Bhattarai with sufficient attention to the issues raised by Kashi, Prem, Balkrishna, and other colleagues. This is a very important discussion so far as it matters to the destiny of a nation, not just the future of individual students or even a generation.

In the article by Alastair Pennycook that was attached to Nelta Mail, the author suggests that teachers of English around the world must take the political dimension of teaching it very seriously, rather than merely considering language just a politically neutral means of communication. Pennycook emphasizes on the need for political responsibility on the part of those engaged in teaching the language. He suggests that is politically insensitive and intellectually dishonest to impose a language from the outside without considering the need to promote learning of content in the learners. Simply put, if our students Sita and Ramu are brilliant in English language without being as brilliant in understanding, producing, and sharing ideas with the world, then we have not been good educators.

Pennycook’s article is one of the most intellectually engaging pieces that I have read on the subject of global English. He not only pays attention to the political nature of the “global enterprise of English language teaching” but also explores it as an issue of the coming together of epistemological cultures through the medium of English. I find the article significant as a student and teacher because the author injects himself into the discussion as a teacher with a concern for the most genuine purpose of learning as knowledge-making, and he also goes beyond describing the reality into suggesting what we can do about the spread of global English which, instead of benefiting people around the world by connecting their repertoires of knowledge, is actually destroying that very possibility.

On the surface of it, Pennycook uses the common word “translation” without defining or explaining it in the light of his argument. But as we read the article more carefully, it is clear that he is referring to the way language works as a channel through which knowledge flows, or the way the socio-cultural content of one language is affected during that flow. He also uses another synonymous term for this process, “traffic.” Drawing from Claire Kramsch, Pennycook says that

[the] traffic in meaning is precisely what language teaching should be about, so that language competence should be measured not as the capacity to perform in one language in a specific domain, but rather as ‘the ability to translate, transpose, and critically reflect on social, cultural and historical meanings conveyed by the grammar and lexicon’. The role of the language teacher from this perspective, therefore, is ‘to diversify meanings, point to the meanings not chosen, and bring to light other possible meanings that have been forgotten by history or covered up by politics’. (33-34)

The global enterprise of ELT is for the most part based on the mission of teaching a common language to people around the world, but for what purpose it is never made clear. It has a colonial history and neo-colonial agenda behind it, but most English teachers in both native and non-native situations believe that they are teaching just the language. This hiding of the politics of an inherently political phenomenon is what Bourdieu found problematic in the very discipline of linguistics; the self-denying politics of the applied branch of linguistics called ELT is a much more unacceptable crime in the context of a much more globalized twenty-first century than the self-denying politics of structural linguistics in the previous century.

In many countries around the world, especially in former colonies and other developing countries, English is a required medium of education—and required to the point that young students are severely punished if found using their mother tongue. By teaching just the formal elements of the English language, by confusing the learning of “English” with the acquisition of “good education,” and by imposing the content of foreign literature and culture upon students in the name of learning the language, the educational systems in these countries have effectively destroyed the appeal of local epistemologies among generations of students. This teaching of a language shared by many societies, instead of becoming a means to the transaction and mutual enrichment of epistemological cultures, has become a means to convince millions of people that their own local epistemological resources are not worth what is called “education.” On the other hand, in native English situations, where English is either the only or almost only language in education, there are programs in place that help students from different linguistic backgrounds with how to use their own languages to expedite the process of assimilating into the world of one language, English. Such is the irony of a world that is connected by a shared language, by extraordinary technologies of communication, and by numberless other means of understanding among societies and cultures. And it is in that world where language and education is much less liberating than oppressive that Pennycook’s suggestion that teachers be activists makes much sense. “When we think of translation in an uneven world…, we need to consider not only that uneven global linguistic field on which translation has to play, but also that pedagogical field from which it has already been given a red card, sent off, dismissed to scowl on the sidelines” (36). This “translation” is not the skill that English teachers teach their students when they start learning the new language: it is the translation of a learner’s own experiences into meaningful stories, the translation of the reality of a learner’s own social world into meaningful discourses, and the translation of a learner’s knowledge into education. As Pennycook rightly argues, pedagogy must be responsible towards the need to cure the malady of treating English in its own context, ignoring the content that flows through it, and disregarding the context in which it interacts with specific languages, cultures, and epistemologies.

Pennycook rejects all attempts at establishing non-native varieties, standards, or by implication, linguistic identities as ways that will only help us fall back into the same trap that we try to denounce or escape from. Citing Michael Cronin, he suggests that in order to escape that cycle of political injustice that the learning of language and acquisition of education can perpetuate, “there must also be ‘an activist dimension to translation which involves an engagement with the cultural politics of society at national and international levels’” (43). Pedagogically speaking, this activism involves not only helping students learn English (or any other language) but also helping them flow in and out of the global traffic of knowledge and knowledge-making. Only that activism can make both language learning go along with knowledge learning possible at the same time.  In particular, the suggestion that English teachers must also teach ideas is particularly important for us as teachers in a country in crisis which good education can significantly help resolve.

We are, no doubt, teachers of language, but since we are a lot more than that, we have absolutely no reason why we should be teaching language without at the same time helping students with creating, sharing, and promoting knowledge, and doing so especially out of their own personal and social worlds.

Hope to hear more on the issue from Nelta Colleagues!

Here’s some more khurak to go with the issue.

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