The Effects of English as a Global Language in the Nepali Hinterland

English in developing countries like Nepal has played a crucial role in increasing career and economic opportunities. It has provided access to the information and networks that are vital in building and maintaining economic links. On the other hand,
of 15

Please download to get full document.

View again

All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
   Journal of NELTA, Vol 18 No. 1-2, December 201377 NELTA  Career Gains and Identity Loss: The Effects of Career Gains and Identity Loss: The Effects of Career Gains and Identity Loss: The Effects of Career Gains and Identity Loss: The Effects of Career Gains and Identity Loss: The Effects of English in the Nepali HinterlandsEnglish in the Nepali HinterlandsEnglish in the Nepali HinterlandsEnglish in the Nepali HinterlandsEnglish in the Nepali Hinterlands  Ashok Raj Khati Abstract English in developing countries like Nepal has played a crucial role in increasingcareer and economic opportunities. It has provided access to the informationand networks that are vital in building and maintaining economic links. Onthe other hand, there is an emerging issue of its threat to the local languagesbecause of the massive use of English in different spheres of Nepalese lives.The major focus of the article is on how English has become instrumental increating opportunities among multilingual communities and what perceptionthese communities hold towards English and the development of locallanguages by incorporating the perspectives of EFL teachers from multilingualbackgrounds and researcher’s own understanding of the context. The paperargues that English has unquestionably become instrumental in promotingcareer and economic opportunities, and the foremost reasons behind the declineof many local languages are more of political, cultural and economy guided innature. Key word: English as a global language, Local language, EFL (English as foreignlanguage) teachers, Linguistic identity, Multilingual community Introduction I face students from various ethno-linguistic backgrounds at postsecondary level, in which I have beenassigned to facilitate English as acompulsory course. The students areprimarily from Magar, Newar, Tamang,Hayu, Pahari, Sunuwar and Majhicommunities. Their cultural andlinguistic backgrounds not only reflecttheir identity but also the diversity inlanguage, art and literature. In fact, Ihave been observing for a decade thatthese groups of students are not highlyinterested in their native languages andculture. Children, for example, fromHayu, Pahari, Majhi and many othermarginalized communities inRamechhap, often seem to haveforgotten their mother tongues becauseof the dominant role of Nepali andEnglish in every sector (Khati, 2012),neither are they enthusiastic to learntheir mother tongues. The trend of notusing mother tongue, not only in widersocial contexts but also at home, isincreasing among the young indigenous/   Journal of NELTA, Vol 18 No. 1-2, December 201378 NELTA  tribal and marginalized (ITM) people dueto the dominant role of Nepali andEnglish in mass media and education(Sonntag, 1995; Eagle, 1999 cited inUNESCO report, 2011). It seems as if awhole generation will fail to recognizeand transfer this distinct linguisticproperty of Nepal into the next.English has already entered intodifferent domains of Nepalese lives. Itis no longer limited to the classroomsituation in Nepal. It has nowexpanded its reach to various fields suchas democracy, media, internationalpolitics, commerce, human rights,diplomacy, tourism and developmentsector. The craze for English educationin Nepal has been growing. There arefamed publishing houses, textbooks inEnglish by Nepali writers and editors,training centres, different teams ofwriters, translators, trainers allpromoting English, all engaged inEnglish language teaching (ELT)enterprise, government schools shiftingtheir medium of instruction (MOI)(Bhattarai and Gautam, 2005). Englishhas become a principle component ofthe Nepali education system. Two keyforces: globalization andneoliberalism—have contributed in thisregard. The number of multinationalcompanies and international non-governmental organizations isincreasing these days due to Nepal’smembership in various internationalorganizations such as the World TradeOrganization, the World Bank, and theUnited Nations (Phyak, 2012).Further, English has become a mediumof communication among the youngergeneration. There is the use of hybridof language and culture; many usersmake use of ‘broken’ English in theirevery day lives. Private English mediumschools are able to make sale of English.They have associated English withquality education. Nepali parents areenticed with English language, even ifthere are government-funded schoolsnearby them that provide freeeducation at school level. Moreover,many community schools inKathmandu Valley and outside havealready shifted their MOI to Englishprimarily to increase the number ofstudents and to compete with privateEnglish medium schools and the trendis mounting (Khati, 2013). Youngstersuse English massively while using cellphones, Internet, and Facebook,Twitter and the like social networks.They are greatly influenced by massmedia, technology and foreign culture.These elements give them positivemotivational orientation towardslearning English language. So it is veryimportant to explore and analyze thechanging position of English in themultilingual community of Nepal inrelation to career promotions anddevelopment of local languages. The Study English is at the heart of the globalizingworld, disrupting local languagehegemonies, not uniformly, but in waysthat are unique to specific geo-politicalentities, and unpredictable in effect.“…creating new opportunities for somewhile closing off opportunities forothers,” (Farell and Giri, 2011). The roleof English in a globalized world isdebated where English might create bothsocial cohesion and social division. This   Journal of NELTA, Vol 18 No. 1-2, December 201379 NELTA  study attempts to address twoimportant questions: 1) How do EFLteachers explain the advantages ofEnglish as a global language in creatingmore career and economicopportunities? 2) What is theperception of these teachers of Englishas a global language to the developmentof local languages? To answer thesequestions the author has conducted afocus group discussion with seven EFLteachers. The researcher has attemptedto interpret their experiences,perceptions, attitudes and beliefs alongwith the researcher’s ownunderstanding of the multilingualcontext of Nepal. Background to the participants Participants were included from fivelinguistic backgrounds: Magar, Newar,Hayu, Pahari and Tamang. Amongseven participants, five were male andother two were female. They speakNepali as a second language. Four ofthem have completed bachelor’s ineducation and three of them havemaster’s degrees from TribhuvanUniversity. All participants havespecialized in English languageeducation and are now working in thecapacity of EFL teachers in Ramechhapand Kathmandu. They are associatedwith their native language associations(LA) in different capacities and partlythey also bear managerial profiles invarious schools, colleges, professionalassociations and non-governmentorganizations. A few of them lack theexposure of their native languages butall participants use Nepali and Englishfor different purposes. I have particularlychosen these participants for threereasons: 1) they were EFL teachers whocould understand the scholarship ofEnglish as a global language indeveloping countries like Nepal; 2) theywere from ITM language communitiesthat help them to reflect on their ownethnolinguistic identity; and 3) they hadstrong sense of multilingual communityas they bore different organizational andmanagerial profiles in Nepal. Focus group discussion The three-hour focus group discussionand their responses were recorded usingnotes, as there were two assistants whomade note of their responses. Theresearcher moderated the discussion. Hemade further inquiry by telephoning insome cases to elaborate a fewassumptions they made during thediscussion. The focus group discussionwas chosen to draw upon participants’attitudes, feelings, experiences, reactionsand differences in opinions towards theuse of English language and to explorethe degree of consensus on the topicwhich may be well revealed through thesocial interaction. It also assisted theresearcher to gain a larger amount ofinformation in a shorter period of time. Procedures This researcher has a long professionalengagement with these participants indifferent circumstances in the past. It wasnot difficult to seek consent from them.They were informed about the purposeof the research project a month earlier.All of them agreed. A consensus wasmade to make the participation of allin FGD in Kathmandu when theparticipants from Ramechhap had an   Journal of NELTA, Vol 18 No. 1-2, December 201380 NELTA  occasion to come to attend the programof Teachers’ Union of Nepal (TUN).They were informed to come toKathmandu University (KU) atBalkumari, Lalitpur. It was easier for mein a way that other participants fromKathmandu valley were involved inKU. They were not provided detailsabout the research project earlier butthey were made aware about the areaand the purpose of the study we weregoing to discuss. Results The result of collected data is presentedin two broad themes. English for career enhancement In a way English has been viewed as atool of empowerment andadvancement globally. More than halfof all imports and exports areconducted through transactionsbetween local companies and theirforeign affiliates. Companies areincreasing their geographical outreachand there are more mergers and jointventures. Coleman (2011) attempted toidentify some of the roles that Englishplays in development contexts. Heidentified four broad areas where thereis evidence that English makes acontribution: increasing employability,facilitating international mobility(migration, tourism, studying abroad),unlocking development opportunitiesand accessing crucial information. Andthe fourth contribution is the acting asan impartial language in contextswhere other available languages wouldbe unacceptable. Norton and Tembe(2011) have carried out a study on‘English education, local languages andcommunity perspectives in Uganda’ inan African context. The study was morefocused on the local language policy inrural primary schools and perspectivesof community towards the policy.However, the study shows that Englishlanguage is necessary for internationalcommunication and economicopportunities and highlights themultilingual policy of Uganda.Though Nepali is an official languageand it serves as a lingua franca invarious sectors in Nepalese society,people encounter English in differentofficial purposes in Nepal. Manyproject proposals are written in Englishin several government and other non-governmental organizations, forexample. Similarly, people frommultilingual communities are highlyattracted towards private Englishmedium schools and send their childrento those schools. They do not seem tohave much concern with their ownlocal languages. One of the participantsfrom a Pahari  language communityarticulates his views in the followingways: I love the English language. At myworkplace Nepali is used extensively,however, there are many documents inEnglish that I have to deal with. At homeI have to support my children in theirhomework in English and othersubjects. I have enrolled them in anEnglish medium school. English hassome bonus advantages in buildingnetworks, communication, and careeroptions at national and internationallevels. I cannot think of my professionwithout English. English is an addedand preferable qualification for me andmany other professionals. I can shift myprofession in no time because I haveEnglish language in my hand.   Journal of NELTA, Vol 18 No. 1-2, December 201381 NELTA  He seems to be confident enough foropting for any professions with hisEnglish qualification in the days tocome. In Nepal, the majority of jobannouncements do not miss therequirement of fluent spoken andwritten English. In schools there is ahigh demand of ‘energetic’, ‘dynamic’,‘self motivated’, qualified and trainedEFL teachers particularly in Englishmedium ones in Nepal. Generally,English graduates can survive at easeby teaching English in schools andcolleges. Another participant from the  Magar   linguistic background replied inthis way: English has created direct benefits to me.There is a high demand of Englishteachers in my community. Beside at myworkplace, I teach English to thechildren in my free time. They pay forthese classes instead. Further, I havemaintained a good network with friends,professional associations through usingemail, Internet, websites that mostly takesupport of English. English has assistedme to make effective communications inwider community. I often download thebooks, articles, read Englishnewspapers, play games, watch moviesand other materials in English at home.For me English has been a major skill. Many students especially fromgovernment funded schools andcolleges seem to be low achievers inEnglish and they join extra classes, whichbecome a good economic source for EFLteachers in Nepal. In others cases,English has opened the doors to theworld. A participant whose mothertongue is Hayu put his views differentlyin terms of local languages, Nepali,English and the global economy: I do not use English much in my dailylife, neither have I encountered theoccasions when I felt I should havepossessed native like English. Englishhas not created any economic benefitsfor me. Many youngsters are attractedwith English because of its use at widersocial context. In my every day life thereare a very few occasions when Iencounter English such as whilereading notices, advertisements, lettersand labels of goods at my shop. I do notsee English can only enhance economicand career benefits. The scholars whohave very deep knowledge of Sanskrit,Hindi, Maithali, Nepali and otherlanguages of the East are engaged inreputed Western Universities. They areenjoying highly sophisticated andprestigious lives there. He maintains that English of thewestern world is not only the reason foreconomic advancement and gives moreemphasis on eastern language andknowledge. He further elaborates hisviews in following ways: On the other hand, you can see, theyouths in Nepal are attracted towardslearning Korean and Japaneselanguages nowadays to go to Korea and Japan for economic opportunities. I donot believe that it is only English, whichis generating income in our lives. In factglobal economy fluctuates, and weregard and discard the languagesaccordingly. It indicates that the world economydetermines the spread of English as aglobal language and use of otherregional and national languages. Infact, economic globalization relies onEnglish speaking population; at thesame time it produces the samepopulation all over the world. In Nepal
Related Documents
View more
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks