Monday, May 23, 2005
Condition of English in Bangladesh Second language/Foreign language
Mother tongue or first language is perhaps the most favorite thing for any person. The question of language has resulted into many conflicts and discontentment. The prime example of such discontentment is the Language Movement of 1952 in
Today, the world has become a global village. Thanks to the advancement of communication system and technology. Every country is dependent on others for trade and commerce, education, politics etc. As a result, we have to constantly communicate with other countries and speakers of other languages. Third world countries like
The title of my research is "Status of English in
A second language is any language other than the first, or native, language learned; it is typically used because of geographical or social reasons. The term is to be distinguished from foreign language; linguist Eric Lenneberg uses second language in his critical period hypothesis to mean a language consciously learned or used by its speaker after puberty. In most cases, people never achieve the same level of fluency and comprehension in their second languages as in their first language.
Latin was used so much across
Nowadays, English is considered the world's most widespread second language; it is used in areas as diverse as the internet, television and radio, and international aviation.
The success of English throughout the world stems from two major causes: the far reaching influence of the British Empire, and the 20th century (and continuing) dominance of the
French was for a time the lingua franca (the origin of term) in
If we look at the definition of second language then we can easily say that English is the second language of
A foreign language is a language not spoken by the indigenous people of a certain place: for example, English is a foreign language in
Some children learn more than one language from birth or from a very young age: they are bilingual. These children can be said to have two mother tongues: neither language is foreign to that child, even if one language is a foreign language for the vast majority of people in the child's birth country. For example, a child learning English from her English mother in
From the above definition, it is seen that foreign language refers to a language that is not native to a person. From this point of view English can be considered as a foreign language in
An official language is something that is given a unique status in the countries, states, and other territories. It is typically the language used in a nation's legislative bodies, though the law in many nations requires that government documents be produced in other languages as well.
Officially recognized minority languages are often mistaken for official languages. However, a language officially recognized by a state, taught in schools, and used in official communication is not necessarily an official language. For example, Ladin and Sardinian in
Half of the countries in the world have official languages. Some have only one official language, such as
In some countries, such as
The official languages of some former colonies, typically French or English, are not the national languages or the most widely spoken language.
In contrast, as a consequence of nationalism, Irish is the "national language" of the
In some countries, the issue of which language is to be used in what context is a major political issue.(Source-Wikipedia)
From the above definition, it is seen that the notion of official language is complicated. According to our constitution English can not be termed as the official language of
About the language of the country the Bangladeshi constitution clearly states:
"The state language.
The state language of the Republic is [Bangla]."
In the constitution nothing is mentioned about the status of English. English is not mentioned as a second language or official language. So if we take the status of English in our constitution then we cannot claim that English is a Second language or Official Language in
English in Law court in
English in Education sector in
Formal and institutionalized education system started in
Actually there are three kinds of education systems in our country- Bangla medium, English medium, and Madrasa system. Bangla medium schools can be divided into two sections- government schools, and kindergarten schools. In the kindergarten schools more emphasis is given on English language than government schools. Some of the famous kindergarten schools of
So we can clearly see that the difference in education system in
From the above discussion it is clear that in our general education system English has equal if not more importance than Bangla. In our education system English is really the Second language as all the students have to study it as a compulsory subject for twelve years.
English and Administration:
During the language movement the people of
English in Economic activities:
The economy of
Comparison of English with Arabic, Sanskrit, and Pali in
Arabic, Sanskrit and Pali are the religious languages of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists respectively. Even the uneducated people try to learn these languages as they are considered to be holy. If we compare the learning of English with these languages then we can see that English is given more importance. For example, the tuition fee of a English coaching center is much higher than that of an Arabic coaching centre. English private tutors get 4-5 times more money than Arabic private tutors (Huzur). So although Arabic has religious sentiment attached to it English is considered to be more important as it has economic benefit.
Comparison of English foreign languages like French, German, and Farsi:
French and German have become very popular for economic reasons in our country. Learning these languages help us to increase our possibility to get a UN job. Learning French is also helpful for getting immigration to
From the above picture it is clear that the status of English is much higher than foreign languages like German, French, and Farsi. We can not deny the reality that if a person is good at English then he can earn money in any part of
From the discussion so far there is no doubt that English is the second language of
The same picture is there about educational sector. Many Bangladeshi students want to go to developed countries like
So I recommend to the government of
1. Dr. Musa, Monsur. BHASHACINTA PROSONGO O PORIDHI.
2. Dr. Musa, Monsur. BANGLADESHER RASHTRABHASHA.
3. Dr. Musa, Monsur. BHASHA PORIKOLPONAR SHOMAJ
4. Dr. Musa, Monsur. BANGLA PARIBHASHA: ITIHAS O SAMASYA.
Comparison of two poems on Birds
Eng-230 (Introduction to poetry)
In literature nature has always been considered as an important topic. As a natural object, birds are also have been mentioned in poetry. In fact, many poets have written many beautiful poems on birds. Birds are often used as symbols in poetry too. For example, in Bangla literature the cuckoo bird is often associated with spring time. In English literature there are many poems which are written about birds or birds play important role in the poems. For example, Ode to a Nightingale written by John Keats and Ode to a Skylark of P B Shelly are two very famous poems on birds. Another such poem is The Rime of the Ancient Mariner of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in which the poet has used the Albatross as a symbol. According to the requirement of the assignment I have selected Ode to Nightingale by John Keats and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by S.T.Coleridge for my discussion.
Before discussing the above mentioned two poems it is needed to cast some light on the two poets and the Romantic age in English literature as a whole. The Romantic Age in English literature is a unique era because in this age all the poets created their poetry on nature and nature related topics. Nature forms the main aspect of their poetry. Before them no poet could think of nature as the main theme of a poem. The Romantic poets have successfully implemented this theme. As a result, all the great poems about birds were written in this age. John Keats was a Romantic poet who has worshipped beauty of nature in his poetry. Natural objects become lively and beautiful in his poem however he does not treat them just as lifeless natural objects. Rather he mixed his own emotion and creates a personal attachment with them. He also expresses his own personal feelings such as happiness, sadness, hope, and frustration etc in his poems. In Ode to a Nightingale Keats has expressed a desire to escape from a harsh reality which he can not tolerate. He wants to join the nightingale and fly away into a dreamland.
On the other hand S.T.Coleridge touched the supernatural elements of nature and has presented them in a very natural way. Coleridge had a brilliant sense of imagination and with his excellent narrative skills he could imagine the most supernatural thing and then describe it in the most natural way. In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Coleridge has described the life of a mariner who had killed an albatross and then suffered immensely for killing it. The whole poem is based on the reaction of killing the albatross. A bird is a beautiful creation of god and by killing the albatross without any reason the mariner had committed a grave sin against god.
Only at the twentieth century men learned to fly like a bird before aero plane was discovered men were always fascinated with the idea of flying like a bird. According to Greek mythology Daedalus and Icarus tried to imitate the birds and made artificial wings to fly. Their efforts failed in tragedy. So the concept of flying was like a dream to mankind until the beginning of the twentieth century people marveled at the birds because they could fly in the sky. The poets also appreciated this matter and their minds also wanted to fly with them. We see this kind of urge in Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale. The life of John Keats was a very tragic one he died early from a disease. He also had a depressing crush on a lady which brought him no success but only misery and in his own time some influential literary critics criticized his poetry in the worst possible way. So life became very miserable for John Keats. All his life he sought escape from the sufferings and in Ode to a Nightingale we find the desperate effort of Keats to escape from the harsh cruel world around him. He feels that nightingale is very lucky it can fly away from any place. In the beginning of this poem the poet refers to his miserable condition:
MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
Here it is evident that the poet was suffering a lot when he wrote this poem. Life has become too much painful for him he feels as if he has drunk hemlock or opium. He wants to forget all he pain and be happy in the happiness of the nightingale.
For Coleridge the albatross is not a way of escaping but a holy and beautiful creation of god. It brings joy to the sailors. The sailors have to spend many lonely days within the sea during their voyage. So they often feel very lonely and do not get the opportunity to see any sign of life around them for days:
At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came ;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
So when they see an albatross they feel happy and get hopeful that land is near them. The same thing happened for the companions of the ancient mariner. When they saw the albatross they greeted it with joy and gave it food and played with it. Thus the albatross brought companionship for them. Thanks to the arrival of the albatross they could escape from the harsh loneliness around them. Coleridge has presented this bird as a friend and companion to men.
Both the poems have used symbolism very skillfully. Coleridge has used the technique of willing suspension of disbelief where the readers will forget the real world and believe the world that the poet is presenting to be real. The plot of the poem centers around the idea of sin-suffering-praying-redemption. It is a poem with a moral touch. The mariner first committed a sin and then he suffered for it. After much suffering he prayed to God and then God forgave him. The mariner learnt his lesson and told others to show love and kindness to the creation of God. The albatross symbolizes Jesus Christ. The Mariner murdered the innocent bird who brought companionship and hope for him and his fellow sailors:
And a good south wind sprung up behind ;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner's hollo !
In the same way the men of
And I had done an hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe :
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch ! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow !
Normally, the song of nightingale is a symbol of joy and happiness. But Keats wrote this poem when he was suffering too much form his illness. Although he sought happiness through nightingale he knew in his heart that he was going to die soon. So, the symbols of death and forgetfulness are present in this poem. Keats has on numerous occasions referred to Greek mythology. By doing so he has treated the nightingale in such a way as if it was a magical bird which was beyond the reach of any sadness. So the bird is magical and free from human suffering. Keats wished that he could be like it and defeat all his pain and sadness. In his quest to end sadness he is like the Buddha. Buddha all his life sought to find a way to get free from human suffering and achieve salvation. Keats has the same goal and in this poem his nightingale has this magical power.The only problem is that Keats knows that he is a human being and can not be like the nightingale.
In 'Ode to a Nightingale' Keats tries to make a good balance between sensation and thought. We can find extraordinary sensuous passages, as at the beginning. By using the word 'sense' and makes the readers feel this drowsy numbness too.
The poet later deals with the problems of human life, as in stanza three:
'Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow.'
In contrast to Keats, Coleridge uses the moral teachings of Christianity in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He has put a lot of emphasis on the concept of sin and redemption. Actually The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is like a fable that at first appeared to be a childish story without any deep significance but a closer look makes the readers realize that it contains the deepest of moral teachings. The moral lesson of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is:
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small ;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
Christianity teaches us the same thing- to love god and his creations. No other religion gives so much emphasis on this kind of love. The albatross gave this love to the mariners by bringing them joy and good luck. Thus the albatross is also a magical bird too. It is the bird which brings good luck and pleasant wind to the sailors. The ancient mariner acted selfishly and brutally by killing it. He only thought of his own pleasure. He did not even think that he was killing an innocent bird without any reason. He did not lack food but he certainly lacked kindness. He forgot that there was god who was more powerful than anyone. Certainly god did not like that he killed the bird without any reason. God showed the mariner that no matter how much power a man possessed they should not be unkind to nature. If they did not follow humanity then they would be punished. The punishment that the mariner suffered was terrible. He suffered the worst form of pain- loneliness and isolation. By nature human beings are social animals so being alone in a ship in an endless sea was surely terrible thing to suffer. He often wished that he had died but it did not happen
An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high ;
But oh ! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye !
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.
Only after the mariner realized his sin and prayed to god deeply for forgiveness he was saved.
The self-same moment I could pray ;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
In his personal life Coleridge was not a very religious person but in this poem he has glorified Christianity in a very high manner. Christianity always ask its followers that they seek god’s forgiveness everyday. If a person prays from the core of his heart, god is always ready to forgive him. The poem also shows Coleridge’s deep love towards his country,
Oh ! dream of joy ! is this indeed
The light-house top I see ?
Is this the hill ? is this the kirk ?
Is this mine own countree ?
In conclusion it can be said that the two poems are among the greatest poem on bird in English literature. The poets have used the birds as symbols and have associated them with their own life. The birds are magical but they contain something more than magic. They take us to another world- a dreamy and ideal world. The main difference between two poets is that the nightingale appears to be something in the sky to John Keats and it has no relationship with everyday human life rather it is something which is beyond our normal life. On the other hand the albatross of S.T. Coleridge is something that is related to our every day life. The sailors fed it and played with it. It was like their only friend in an endless sea.
Submitted by - S.M.Mehdi Hassan
1. Have you personally observed or experienced a situation involving acculturation?
Ans. Acculturation is the process of picking up and adopting the behaviors of a particular culture of any organization, country, and community. For example, a Bangladeshi student who goes to
Acculturation does not only take place in foreign countries but also in homeland as well. The acculturation experience that I observed took place in my homeland
In order to develop my English skills I studied with a private tutor for one year. Now I can speak and write in English quite well and I can response better compared to other Bengali medium students in the class which gives me confidence. I do not hesitate to talk with female students anymore because I have spent five years with them. English department has a very small number of students so unlike BBA or CSE I did not have to meet too many new students each semester. It was the same female students all the time which helped me to build a friendly relationship with them. Lastly, I still wear comfortable rather than latest fashion dresses but I do not get any complex because I have spent a long time in NSU and I found out there are lots of other students who are not that serious about their dresses and they do not have any complex for that.
2. How do you participate in a world system of images? Are the images to which you relate mainly national or foreign/international as well?
Ans. The world system of images that I participate is somewhat different compared to the views of most Bangladeshi people. The newspapers, books, and television channels, have affected me to become a person with liberal ideas. For example, most people think that a husband should always keep his wife under tight control. Otherwise, the wife would get out of control and there would be total chaos in the family. I do not like this system by reading the short story Haimanty of Rabindranath Tagore I have realized that oppressing a wife can never bring any kind of happiness for a husband. Rather it makes couple life and family life unhealthy, discomfortable and very unhappy. So I believe that a husband should be liberal to his wife as much as possible. Most people think that my idea is a sign of weakness.
The images to which I relate are both national and international. The national images are many short stories and novels of Bengali literature which show that if a husband tries to be the friend of his wife instead of the master then couple life becomes heavenly. On the other hand western novels and movies show it too. For example, in the movie little women the hero tries to win the heart of the heroin (Winona Rider) with love and respect. It is true that I belong to the minority group in
3. How do you use the media? Is there a program or group that has special meaning for you? How does that meaning differ from someone else’s, with respect to the same program or group? Are you personally irritated when someone questions your meaning?
On the contrary when it comes to print media I prefer Bengali to English. One of my favorite pastimes is reading story books. My father used to read to me when I was a child. Although I am a major in English language I have not read any English novels out side my class assignment. I always enjoyed reading books of Bangladeshi and Kolkata writers and English novels translated into Bengali. Last semester I had to do a book report on “Sea Wolf” by Jack London. Before reading the English version I read the Bengali translation of the novel and then the English version and I found out that I had a greater understanding of the novel. I feel more comfortable reading Bengali than English novels. I enjoy reading Hindu mythologies like Mahabharat, Ramayan. My favorite writers are Shankar, Shamoresh, Humayun Ahmed, and Sanjib Chatterjee.
I try to use the media basically in three ways. Firstly I use media for information. We all need to be aware of the latest news even if we do not like politics. For example, we need to know about hartals and rickshaw strikes for our own benefit. For this reason, I read newspaper (Prothom Alo) and watch television news (Channel- I) almost everyday. The second use of media is entertainment, and the third use of media for me is educational. For example, I extensively use internet to find materials for my class assignments and examinations.
The program that has special meaning to me is “Oprah Winfrey” show. Before watching this show I had no idea about the life of American people (especially of American women). I used to think that their life was like
Most persons I know have a different meaning of Oprah Winfrey show. They think that it is very boring and not enjoyable. They only like those episodes in which there are beautiful women or models.
I get quite irritated when some one questions my meaning about this program. They think that I am a fool to watch this kind of boring programs. However, I know that it is a very useful program and we learn many good things to make our lives beautiful.
In the end I would like to say that watching movies helped to grow a positive view about western culture which helped me in learning English. In the same way my interest in Bengali served me well when I went to work in a computer magazine where I had to translate English articles into Bengali.