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 Welcome to NELTA ELT Forum, August Issue, 2017!

Editorial…

Dear Readers,

It was in the past when English was just the language of BANA countries. Now, it has crossed the border and the term ‘English’ is shifting to ‘Englishes’ since the circle of English users is expanding.  The Expansion of English in Bharat Khanda goes back to business relationship of Portuguese and East India Company when they started business in Goa of India (Sailaja, 2009). Being  a subordinate of Britishers, Portuguese tried to imperialize with language and  Christianity. English language entered Nepal when King Pratap Malla made business relationship with East India Company (Giri, 2015). This evidence can be known from the recorded history of Pratap Malla who used to speak fifteen languages. Slowly, seeds of English got further fostered when  Prithvi Narayan Shah attacked Kathmandu valley.

Realizing the power of the British rules and English language, Rana prime minister Jung Bahadur, after visiting  London,  felt English as the language of elites. His return from London brought English in Nepal with the establishment of Durbar school which was primarily meant for educating  Rana children in English (Poudel, 2016). Earlier, English did not have the scope that it has at present. It means, English was in use earlier but not in all sectors. Now, Nepal has exceeded the restricted use of the language. It has bridged the gap of socio, economic, political, tourism and education related setbacks.

However, still behind in the process of documenting of English in Nepal though, it is thriving pragmatically. Considering this aspect, NELTA ELT forum team, in this issue,  brings this especial discourse entitled ‘English in Nepal: Where do we Stand?’  This is the interview with the linguists and researchers, Dr. Tika Ram Poudel and Dr. Prem Bahadur  Phyak. We have tried to tap for the critical insight on status and prospects of English. Further, we have included write ups of  Mr. Kumar Narayan Shrestha, Ms. Sikha Gurung and Ms. Manuka Adhikari.

Kumar Narayan Shrestha, in  ‘English in Nepal:  A Guest Language to the Best Language’ presents  demographic information of language spoken in Nepal and presents different developmental  periods of English in Nepal.  Sikha Gurung, in her article ‘Where do they Sit? Use of Preposition by Nepalese Learners’ examines the use of preposition, challenges Nepalese English speakers or learners face along with solutions. Manuka Adhikari, in her article ‘English in Nepal: Phonology of Nepali English’ writes vividly on pronunciation as an aspect of spoken English.

For your ease,we have hyperlinked each entry:

  1. English in Nepal: Where do we Stand? By Dr. Tika Ram Poudel and Dr. Prem Bahadur Phyak
  2. English in Nepal: A Guest Language to the Best Language by Kumar Narayan Shrestha
  3. Where do they Sit? Use of Preposition by Nepalese Learners by Shikha Gurung
  4. English in Nepal: Phonology of Nepali English by Manuka Adhikari

We would appreciate your valued comments as usual.

Happy Reading !

DN Joshi, Komila Tangirova & Sagun Shrestha

August Issue Editors

NELTA ELT Forum

 

English in Nepal: Where do we Stand?

Educated in India, Nepal and Germany, Dr. Tikaram Poudel currently teaches at School of Education Kathmandu University. Dr Poudel is well-known for his studies on morpho-syntax and semantics of case, tense, aspect and field linguistics of South Asian languages. His studies on the interface between ergativity and individual level predication, cumulative and separative morphology and affix suspension have been well received. Recently, Dr Poudel has been concentrating on the socio-cultural impact of English on contemporary Nepalese society.

Dr. Prem Phyak pursued his PhD in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA. Currently, he is an assistant professor of English education at the Central Department of Education, Tribhuvan University. His areas of interest include English in multilingual contexts, language policy and planning, youth engagement in language practices, critical pedagogy, language ideology, language and public space, and culturally sustaining pedagogies and qualitative research. Dr. Phyak has a MA in TESOL from the Institute of Education (IOE), University College London (UCL), UK and M.Ed. in English Education from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. His publication includes Engaged Language Policy and Practices (with Kathryn A. Davis) from Routledge. In addition, his publications have appeared in journals such as Language Policy, Language in Society, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, and Current Issues in Language Planning.

(Following is the interview that one of the editors of NELTA ELT Forum, DN Joshi had with the researcher and linguists Dr. Paudel and Dr. Phyak)

1. NELTA ELT Forum would like to welcome you both in August issue. How is your life going?

Dr. Poudel:  Thank you DN ji. It’s going on well. I have been enjoying semester break of the University.

Dr. Phyak:  Thank you DN Ji!  I have been involved in different language policy related programs. Doing well.

2. Are we in the position to call Nenglish, the English used in Nepal? What is your take on it?

Dr. Poudel:  Its really a great question DN Ji. I don’t think, linguistically, we are in the position to call Nenglish, though we use English to a greater extent than in the past. We have not been able to codify it properly. We need a proper reference grammar of English that we use here.  There should be proper research on phonological process, morphology, syntax and even in discourse.  Still we have a long way to go working on phonology, morphology and syntax.

Dr. Phyak: This largely depends on how you perceive the use of language. If you perceive language from a linguistic perspective, language needs to have standard normative rules that speakers are expected to follow. If we see language not as a standardized entity but as a spoken practices, we clearly see that there is no normative uniformity in the use of English. So, it is important to see English from a sociolinguistic and speakers’ point of view. Regarding the question of standard language, I don’t believe that there is a ‘standard language’;it is just an ideology;it is a myth and constructed. It is necessary to become more adaptive when we talk about use of English in multilingual contexts. Whether you call Nenglish or Nepalese English, there is use of English. For me, it is not linguists who decide what language is standard. It’s users of language that matters. But of course, developing a corpus is necessary to understand practices of English in Nepal.   Continue reading →

English in Nepal: From a Guest Language to the Best Language

*Kumar Narayan Shrestha

Abstract

The history of English in Nepal was first recorded in the seventeenth century.Although English was adopted as a foreign language in Nepal in the past, it has gained multi-dimensional status such as an additional language, second language and even primary language. At present English language is indispensable part of Nepalese life as it has impinged on all the spheres of their lives. Currently a number of scholars have argued that a distinctive variety of English has grown in Nepal with its own unique features at all language levels because of its long tradition and wider use. This paper begins with demographic information of languages spoken in Nepal and subsumes different historical eras of English in Nepal.

Key words: Nepalese English, Nenglish, Standard English,

Introduction

Nepal is a multiethnic, multilingual, multi-religious and multicultural country. The last census 2011 revealed that there are 123 languages and 125 castes and ethnic groups (CBS, 2014).However, Lewis (2009) and Yonjan-Tamang (2005) claim that there are 144 languages are spoken within the territory of Nepal (as cited in Rai, Rai, Phyak & Rai, 2011). Although, languages are sources of knowledge and icon of identity, the majority of indigenous languages spoken in Nepal are endangered due to various reasons.

According to the last Census 2011(CBS, 2014), the total population of Nepal is 26.5 million with annual growth rate of 1.35per annum. There are 84.56 percent males and 51.43 percent females. The literacy rate of male and female are 75.1 and 57.4 percent respectively giving on average of 69.9 percent.

There are recorded ten different religions, namely, Hindu, Bouddha, Islam, Kirat, Christian, Prakriti, Bon, Jain, Bahai and Sikha.  Similarly, there are four language families/genetic: Tibeto-burman, Indio-Aryan, Austro-Asiatic/Munda, Dravidian (Kansakar, 1996, p.1). But Rai (2016) says there are five families (Kusunda no family yet), fourteen scripts.Among them, Nepali stands as the official language of the country.

According to census 2011 (CBS, 2014) top ten mother tongue speakers are as follow: Nepali (44.6%), Maithali (11.67%), Bhojpuri (5.98), Taru (5.77%), Tamang (5.11%), Newar (3.20%), Bajjika (2.99%), Magar (2.98%), Doteli (2.97%), Urdu (2.61%). There are 19 ‘major’ languages (having 100,000 speakers) according to last census. English lies in the 76th position having 2,032 (0.01%) speakers in Nepal. Similarly, 81, 447 (0.30%) Nepalese speak English as second language.

English language in Nepal

The current decade has witnessed an unprecedented spread of English worldwide. This massive spread of English can be attributed to the various historical, political, cultural, economic and technological factors. It has led to the emergence of new varieties of English all over the world. Kachru (1988 as cited in Crystal, 2003) suggests that “spread of English around the world as three concentric circles, representing different ways in which the language has been acquired and is currently used” (p. 69). He has classified different Englishes as those used in the ‘inner circle’, the ‘outer circle’, and the ‘expanding circle’ where English language is used as ‘native language’, ‘second language’ and ‘foreign language’ respectively. Moreover, it has blurred the constructs like native speakers, non-native speakers, and Standard English and so on since non-native language speakers have outnumbered the native speakers. Continue reading →

‘Where do They Sit: on, in or at?’ Use of Prepositions by Nepalese Learners

*Sikha Gurung

Abstract

The use of prepositionsby English language learners of Nepal is quite interesting. Therefore, this research paper examines the use of prepositions, particularly focusing on the challenges,its causes and the solutions.This study aims to fulfil its purpose of uncovering the issues of English Language Teaching in Nepal.

It is guided by Skinner’s theory of language acquisition, which talks about ‘operant conditioning’ in which children while learning a language goes through trial-and-learn, that is they try and fail to use the correct language unless they become proficient in it. It is qualitative research paper based on the methods like observation, analysis and interpretation of written and verbal communication of the students of English at eighth standard. The study came up with the findings that there are varieties of challenges that the learners face during the process of learning prepositions, there are some causes and solutions too. The implications of this research is relevant for English language classrooms of Nepal. Its findings can add to the existing literature of English language teaching in multilingual context and be applied to the language classrooms of Nepal to understand ELT and make it a better one.

Keywords: English, language, preposition, learners

Introduction

This academic paper explores the use of English prepositions by the non-native learners of Nepal by examining the written and verbal use of the school level students through observation and interpretation. After finding out how they use the prepositions in their verbal and written discourse, it will explore the challenges the learners face while learning them.Then finally it will dig out the causes and solutions of the challenges that the learners face while learning prepositions.

What is a Preposition?

In English language, prepositions are the words which indicate the location of the nouns or pronouns. They show relationship between entities and the phenomena: they indicate a relationship in space(between one object and another), and/or a relationship in time(between events), in addition to other relationships such as instrument and cause.The classification of the prepositionsare done on the basis ofform, function and meaning. Further, the form is divided assimple (one-word preposition) andcomplex (also called two- word, three-word, or compound prepositions) (Celce-Murcia, & Larsen-Freeman, 1999 as cited in Delija&Koruti, 2013, p.125).Simple prepositions are closed class from which we cannot invent new single word prepositions. However, complex prepositions are open class because new combinations can be invented (Yates, 1991as cited in Delija&Koruti, 2013, p.125). Moreover, in English language, there are approximately seventy simple prepositions. The most frequently used prepositions are: at, by, for, from, in,of, on, to and with (Grubic, 2004, as cited in Delija&Koruti, 2013, p. 125). Continue reading →

English in Nepal: Phonology of Nepali English ?

Manuka Adhikari

 

Abstract

Every language has individual phonological system that doesn’t match to another language. English language is also one example which has gained the identity of international language. Every citizen from non English speaking countries dreams to master on this language but due to their mother tongue influence they hardly get mastery over this as the native speakers do. Therefore, there occurs a variety of pronunciations of English which is also called British English, American English, Indian English etc. This paper talks about the pronunciation of Nepali English if it is similar to RP. The paper compares and analyses the phonology of RP and Nepali English. The main purpose of this study is to explore the influence of Nepalese phonemes in the use of English segmental and suprasegmental sounds. For this I purposively selected the English speeches delivered by two Nepali native speakers. The results were analysed by applying negative phonological transfer theory which tells that the pre-occupied native knowledge, i.e. Nepali hinders the acquisition of second language i.e., English. After the analysis, I came to know that English phonemes are highly influenced by the Nepali phonemes; therefore, Nepali English has Nepali like pronunciations. It means they differ from the Standard English pronunciation.

 

Keywords:Nepali English, RP, negative phonological transfer, segmental and suprasegmental phonemes

 

Introduction

English is owned by not any particular group of people or any country. It is a language and people can use it according to their knowledge about it. There are varieties of English spoken all over the world such as British English, American English, and Indian English etc. However, the alphabet is same their phonology may vary from one other. This study is related to the phonology of Nepali English where I tried to investigate the phonemes whether they are uttered according to RP. For this, I purposively selected two sets of English speech videos from YouTube which were delivered by the Nepali native speakers. The findings were drawn and analysed by applying language transfer theory and concluded the study. Continue reading →

Welcome to July 2017 Issue of NELTA ELT Forum

“We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.” – John Caldwell Holt

Dear readers,

Welcome to NELTA ELT Forum, July 2017 Issue.

Probably the fastest-spreading language in the human history, over the last few centuries, English has become the world’s lingua franca. Today, English is spoken by almost one fourth of total population of the world; and, this number is only set to grow. By 2020, the British Council forecasts that two billion people will be speaking or learning English. This number is likely to grow as the English language works as a gateway or a springboard. From the time it became the language of global trade under the British Empire, and its popularity after the postwar economic growth in America, UK and Europe, English has ridden the wave of globalization, urbanization and technology. With insurmountable variations in the use and usage, adjusting with the effects of nativism and assimilation, English has now come to stand as the most viable means of expression. It is, undoubtedly, more so in the field of academics.

As a result, from a teachers’ perspective, English language learning has become ever more exciting and challenging. It is exciting because the number of opportunities and resources are more easily available compared to the past, and it is challenging because technology has made it possible for learners to access resources outside the classroom and learn the language by themselves. With the overflow of information- knowledge sharing made readily available, the lives teachers are also greatly impacted on. The overarching transmission model of professional growth is fast reversing to a downward rooted- classroom based- one. The great narratives of ‘content’ and ‘pedagogy’ are fast giving way to small narratives of the day- to- day accounts. Discussion and theorization of these ‘actual narratives’ has been made possible with the vast possibilities offered by the cloud system of networking. Micro-narratives come from people- from the teachers’ lived experiences, their reflections, mini- researches and from what they actually do together to change the lives of the learners. They are the bits and pieces of story teachers tell to each other each day- about their successes, strategies and challenges. These are the pains and pathos teaching professionals all over the world co- incidentally share in common.  As the quote by famous educator John Holt in the beginning of this post also implies, we actually learn to teach by teaching, and sharing of our teaching makes our learning- to- do- teaching better . This July (2017) issue focuses on the ways teachers attempt to grow professionally so that they learn to teach in a better way, i.e. teachers’ professional development. Thanks discussion forums! Sharing of such and learning from each other has been made possible. The only requirement in this respect is for us to be mindful of those.

Hence, forum like this, which promotes sharing of teachers’ knowledge, has more relevance and pertinence in accessing culturally contextual information which can enhance our practice. With this note, we would like to welcome you to the July (2017) issue of the ELT Forum of NELTA. This issue features articles from the ground- the micro- narratives of the visions and realities, and experiences and hopes of the teachers living in the Nepalese EFL context. We have included write ups of Dr. Keshav Raj Chalise, Mr. Gyanendra Kumar Yadav , Mr. Pramod Sigdel, Mr. Chet Nath Panta Ms. Nibedita Sharma, Mr. Mahesh Adhikari and Ms. Muna Thapa, and Mr. Gokul Ghimire Sharma. Articles included here form a neat mosaic of tastes, shading light on the expanding gyre of the realm of language teaching, which ELT educators need to be mindful about. The correct path of professional growth rooted into the unique teaching context demands one’s engagement in interpretation, reflection and research. These are after all teachers’ accounts of their ‘micro- narratives’- their unique attempts to understanding the ELT world in a better way. However this journey is a never ending one- it is full of dreamy flashes, undertones and undercuts. We want a straightforward model of professional growth which can be replicable all for once, but the main route to is not so. Higher reality is deeper than our superficial know- how. Therefore teachers do not limit to a single activity: they make perspectival criticism; they critically reflect on what they themselves are doing; they delve into their own lives; they create narratives of their own; and they share and learn from others. These all are nothing other than the teachers’ desperate attempts to know their own profession in a better way and to grow professionally. Aligned with this philosophy of professional growth, this July (2017) issue has included papers ranging from critical commentary on literary texts to reflective commentary on teachers’ convention. In between come the attempts for professional development through mentoring, teacher evaluation and reflection. We believe these are the common ingredients in the Pandora- package of English language teaching professionals.

The article by Dr. Keshav Chalise, entitled “Hadaha Daha: A Mythical Surrealism in Koirala’s Modiāin, presents a commentary on the popular Nepali novel “Modiāin” by renowned litterateur B. P. Koirala through a surrealistic historical- mythical perspective. This piece testifies an attempt to understand the deeper reality of the text, and the author’s interpretation of the cultural myths ingrained in the novel. Similarly, Mr. Gyanandra Yadav in his article “Mentoring for EFL Teachers’ Professional Development” presents an overview of the context of mentoring for professional development of EFL teachers in Nepal. Beginning with the writer’s personal narrative of professional journey, the article focuses on the effect of mentoring on the professional development of teachers along with its importance in the Nepalese EFL context. Although it is still a neophyte practice in Nepal, Mr. Yadhav has attempted to establish that mentoring can be a promising paradigm for teachers’ professional development in Nepal. Similarly, Mr. Pramod Sigdel in his article “Promises of Action Research Paradigm for Teachers’ Professional Development” focuses on the need for changing the paradigm for teacher development from the so- called ‘expert- cascading’ model to ‘teacher- initiated reflective model’. Mr. Sigdel presents an evidenced advocacy that teachers are the professionals who should design and plan the activities which can facilitate and accelerate the learning opportunities for their learners. Imposing theories and philosophies in the guise of training is not transformative in essence. Likewise, the mini- study by Mr. Chet Nath Panta, Ms. Nibedita Sharma, Mr. Mahesh Adhikari and Ms. Muna Thapa entitled “Practices of In- service Teacher Evaluation in Public Schools of Nepal” critically examines the situation of in- service teacher evaluation practices in the mainstream community schools in Nepal. This study also reiteratively concludes that teachers, including English language teachers, are the key to transforming the schools for quality education. However, investment on continuous evaluation, performance appraisal and support to the teachers is a must for realizing the goals of education. Finally, Mr. Gokul Ghimire Sharma in his piece “Innovations and Co-teaching in Nepalese EFL Classroom” presents a narrative account of how teachers can create innovations in teaching employing a co-teaching methodology. This piece includes Mr. Sharma’s reflection on his involvement in the TESOL International Convention and Language Expo 2016 in Baltimore, USA.

For your ease, we have hyperlinked the articles below:

1. Hadaha Daha: A Mythical Surrealism in Koirala’s Modiāin by Dr. Keshav Chalise

2. Mentoring for EFL Teachers’ Professional Development by Mr. Gyanandra Yadav

3. Promises of Action Research Paradigm for Teachers’ Professional Development  by Mr. Pramod Sigdel 

4.  Practices of In- service Teacher Evaluation in Public Schools of Nepal by Mr. Chet Nath Panta, Ms. Nibedita Sharma, Mr. Mahesh Adhikari and Ms. Muna Thapa

5. Innovations and Co-teaching in Nepalese EFL Classroom by Mr. Gokul Ghimire Sharma 

We would like to thank all the contributors for their articles. We are hopeful that our tour with this July 2017 Issue around the concerns of teachers will find relevance in the context of upcoming ‘Guru Purnima’ (Teachers’ Day) in Nepal. We hope readers will enjoy going through this issue. Comments and suggestions to the posts are always welcome!

Happy reading!

 

Dinesh Kumar Thapa

Suman Laudari

Issue Editors