Nepanglish: A Standardizing Variety of English

H. C. Kamali (SaSi)

English has been so varied that when we talk of it, we have to be aware of the variety of being used, as there exist different varieties of English. So we have to accept the fact that “There is no such thing as the English Language” (Aarts and Aarts, 1982). This is all because English has been widely used around the world by people of different regions, cultures, languages, and so forth. Harmer (1999) argues in favour of this and maintains, ‘There is a multiplicity of varieties and this makes it difficult to describe English as any one thing’. So it is very natural to speak of varieties of English or world Englishes because there are several varieties of English identified, for example, British English, American English, Canadian English, Australian English South African English, Nigeria English, Indian English, Sri-Lankan English and so on. This is not only the case of the countries in American, European, African and Australian continents; even the countries in Asian continent have been greatly influenced by English. As a result, many different varieties of English have been developed and some are still emerging.

Regarding the expansion of English in South Asia, Kansakar (1998), in the same vein, maintains, ‘In recent years, speakers of English in countries like India and Nepal have been influenced by American English through tourism , radio, television and other media of mass communication. This situation has given rise to a curious mixture of South Asian, British and American varieties of English, which are referred to generally as South Asian English.’ Here Kansakar generalizes the varieties of English used in the South Asian countries as ‘South Asian English’. But the fact is that English has many varieties even in South Asia because every nation that uses English as a second or foreign language, in question, is claiming the English used there to be of their own variety. In the context of Nepal too, English which has the status of foreign language is considered to be developing as a variety of its own, i.e., Nepalese English or ‘Nenglish’ (Rai, 2006) or ‘Nepanglish’ (as recommended through my research).

English used in Nepal is of its own type – neither is it like that of British nor American, nor anything else because when Nepalese speak English they can be easily identified as Nepalese, not as Englishmen or Americans. So it is rather a very high time to investigate on Nepalese English (Nepanglish) and develop it into an internationally-accepted variety of English because here English is losing its Englishness and getting highly influenced by Nepali language. In this regard, David Crystal has also mentioned in his Encyclopedia of the English language that ‘Nepalese variety of standardizing variety is emerging gradually’.


4 thoughts on “Nepanglish: A Standardizing Variety of English

  1. “The government of Nepal should pay attention to develop Nepanglish. For that many researches should be carried out to recognize this variety. And materials for school and college curricula should have Nepanglish as well.”

    Seriously ?
    With due respect – but, seriously ?

    1. With due respect (and I don’t use the phrase for sarcasm), when you find the time to join the conversation, could you please do so professionally? If you disagree with the author’s opinion, the rest of us expect the commenter to give their own reason, to be polite and use a language that shows their own professionalism. Why do you think it is such a bad idea for the Nepalese government (I read that as educational policies) and researchers to recognize Nepali English as a new variety? It is possible that you define Nepanglish (I read that as Nepali variety of English) as a very bad thing and that is why you have such a strong reaction, but if we study the literature on how language varieties evolve, how their recognition or non-recognition necessarily involve a political dynamic, and so on, we can actually give a lot of credit to this topic as a serious one for ELT practitioners. Yes, if we embrace a narrow definition of Nepali English in terms of the worst, broken English we’ve heard teenagers speaking on the playground, and further if we embrace the ideological position that everyone in the world should speak in standard British or American (but, by the way, I now live in the US, and have found out that there is no such thing as American English here, only a whole bunch of varieties, often mutually incomprehensible), then we will be in a different conversation. The conversation we want to take place on Choutari is the first type, one that is informed by scholarship on the issue, a conversation that welcomes different opinions without quick answers and or dismissal of others’ ideas and perspectives. The issue of language variety is a highly complex one. For the community’s reference on the subject, let me share a few sources, welcoming more discussion and sharing of resources.

      Bourdieu, P., & Thompson, J. B. (1991). Language and symbolic power. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
      Gal, S., & Irvine, J. T. (January 01, 1995). Disciplinary Boundaries and Language Ideology: The Semiotics of Differentiation. Social Research, 62, 4, 967.
      Pratt, M. L. (1988). Linguistic utopias. The linguistics of writing: Arguments between language and literature. N. Fabb, D. Attridge, A. Durant and C. MacCabe. New York, Methuen: 48-66.
      Pennycook, A. (January 01, 2008). ENGLISH AS A LANGUAGE ALWAYS IN TRANSLATION. European Journal of English Studies, 12, 1, 33-47.
      Coupland, N. (January 01, 2000). Sociolinguistic prevarication about ‘standard English&rsquo.Journal of Sociolinguistics, 4, 4, 622-634.
      Bamgbose, A. (1998). Torn between the norms: Innovations in world Englishes. Oxford: Pergamon.
      Prendergast, C. (2008). Buying into English: Language and investment in the new capitalist world. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
      Luke, A., Luke, C., & Graham, P. (January 01, 2007). Globalization, Corporatism, and Critical Language Education. International Multilingual Research Journal, 1,1, 1-13.
      Spring, J. (August 01, 2007). The Triumph of the Industrial-Consumer Paradigm and English as the Global Language. International Multilingual Research Journal, 1,2, 61-78.
      Bhatt, R. M. (April 01, 2008). In other words: Language mixing, identity representations, and third space. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 12, 2, 177-200.
      Canagarajah, A. S. (July 01, 2006). Toward a Writing Pedagogy of Shuttling between Languages: Learning from Multilingual Writers. College English, 68, 6, 589-604.
      Gentil, G. (January 01, 2005). Commitments to Academic Biliteracy. Written Communication, 22, 4, 421-471.
      Canagarajah, A. S. (2002). A geopolitics of academic writing. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
      Flowerdew, J. (April 01, 2000). Discourse Community, Legitimate Peripheral Participation, and the Nonnative-English-Speaking Scholar. Tesol Quarterly, 34, 1, 127-150.

      1. To sum up my entire query, here’s my case.
        We can see/hear these types of uses:

        Type 1:
        I need to buy a copy.
        We face over 3 hours of loadshedding.
        There’s a hotel. Let’s go eat there.
        Rabin sir is very very strict.
        Ganga miss is very very sweet.
        He likes wearing a halfpant.
        Ok, ok. Don’t give me a big dialogue.
        Hey bro, don’t talk jpt with me.
        Except for the nativatized English words, the grammar and sentence structures follow the common English.

        And, these types as well:

        Type 2:
        Homework not did yeah?
        Sir, sir. All body in the class shouting.
        All body, keep quite.
        Yesterday you came?
        Fast giving.
        I am not beating him and.
        Stop I said and.
        I am catching book.
        Here only.
        Where is Chandan? Already going home and.
        In the matter of discipline no compromise and you donkey monkey spider also.

        These are the spoken form many students/teachers in schools and college use. They don’t for any general grammar rules or sentence structures of common English that we know.

        (Then there are words like proudy, chilly, senti, frastu, etc)

        Another major issue is – English is not a lingua franca in Nepal. Normally, people in Nepal don’t use English to make conversations. While speaking, we might insert few English words into our conversation but we don’t communicate entirely in English language.

        School jana late bhayo.
        Ma timi lai email garula hai.
        Picnic janey hoina. Let’s go hai.

        So, my question is, if Nepali English is evident and imminent, which form of the English (the above two forms) do we own, approve and promote? (Promote as in, start including it in the school/college curriculum.)

        What is worrying is when a professor like Vishnu S Rai, in his article “English, Hinglish and Nenglish”, says “Nenglish allows it” and claims this rather error-ridden sentence like this one – Wanted 6 persons For Office Sitting – as a remarkable distinction of Nepali English.

        I’m curious to know, what really does Nenglish allow? Type 1. Type 2. Or both.

  2. Alright, if that comment seemed to come off wrong.. I truly apologize. But, could you or the write give an example, let’s say a conversation, that demonstrates what “Nepanglish” is?

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