Feb 7, 2020

Condition of English in Bangladesh: Second Language or Foreign Language

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Mom tongue or first language is maybe probably the most favourite factor for any particular person. The query of language has resulted into many conflicts and discontentment. The prime instance of such discontentment is the Language Motion of 1952 in Bangladesh. However we can’t stay in isolation. We have now to keep up a correspondence with the audio system of different languages. Bangladesh is taken into account to be a monolingual nation wherein greater than 98% of the inhabitants is audio system of Bangla language. Nonetheless, there are greater than ten languages in such a small nation like Bangladesh. Monipuri, Urdu, Chakma, Santali, Garo, Rakhain, Tipra- are simply a number of the different languages current in Bangladesh.

The attention-grabbing factor is that Urdu is a Indo-European language however written in Arabic script, Santali belongs to the Mono-Khemar language household whereas Chakma belongs to the Chinese language-Barmese language group. So, though Bangladesh is commonly portrayed as a rustic of linguistic unity primarily based on Bangla language in actuality it has notable linguistic variety. To speak with the audio system of different languages we both must know their language or talk in a Lingua-Franca that’s understandable to each of us.

In the present day, the world has grow to be a world village. Due to the development of communication system and expertise. Each nation depends on others for commerce and commerce, schooling, politics and so on. Because of this, we now have to always talk with different international locations and audio system of different languages. Third world international locations like Bangladesh need to rely upon overseas support as a result of they don’t seem to be self-sufficient. Because of this, many foreigners come to Bangladesh. A 3rd issue is the issue of faith. The sacred language of the Muslims is Arabic, Sanskrit for Hindus, Pali for the Buddhists and Latin for the Christians.

All these elements remind us the need for studying different language(s) along with our mom tongue. In line with this actuality many international locations of the world have adopted a European language as second language which is commonly utilized in schooling, regulation courtroom, financial actions and authorities works. These languages have more often than not official standing within the structure of these international locations. Most of the circumstances the international locations have adopted the language of their previous colonial rulers because the second language. Generally these languages are additionally referred to as official language. In lots of African international locations we will see this image. However, some European languages have grow to be essential on the planet for literary and financial functions. For instance, German and French are thought-about to be vital languages of the world as a result of each of them have influential literature and financial facets related to them.

For instance, many individuals in our nation have an interest to study French as a result of it could assist them to get UN jobs and jobs in Multinational corporations. One other enticing motivation for studying French in Bangladesh is that it could assist us to immigrate to Canada as talent in French language offers an individual some additional factors within the level system of Canadian immigration.

The title of my analysis is “Standing of English in Bangladesh: Second language or overseas language?” I’ve chosen this matter as a result of from sociolinguistic standpoint the standing of English is a really attention-grabbing one. On the one hand English language is dominantly current in each aspect of our nationwide life whereas alternatively in our structure it’s clearly declared that the language of the nation is Bangla. In reality, nothing is alleged concerning the standing of English language in our structure. On one hand, financial actions within the personal corporations are carried out in English whereas there’s a authorities regulation (Bangla procholon ain1987) that authorities workplaces should use Bangla of their official works. So from the federal government standpoint Bangla is the national- official language of Bangladesh and English is a very powerful overseas language. However in actuality English is the second language of the nation and in lots of locations English is extra vital than Bangla in Bangladesh.

Second language:

A second language is any language aside from the primary, or native, language realized; it’s sometimes used due to geographical or social causes. The time period is to be distinguished from overseas language; linguist Eric Lenneberg makes use of second language in his important interval speculation to imply a language consciously realized or utilized by its speaker after puberty. Generally, folks by no means obtain the identical stage of fluency and comprehension of their second languages as of their first language.

Traditionally in Europe, probably the most extensively used second language (or lingua franca) was Latin. It was utilized by the Church; by the Legislation (because it nonetheless is at the moment); in Medication (beginning a lot later); Horticulture and organic classification of vegetation, animals, fruits, nuts, and so on.

Latin was used a lot throughout Europe that it was referred to as the vulgar (or frequent tongue); for this reason the Latin model of the Bible is known as the Vulgate.

These days, English is taken into account the world’s most widespread second language; it’s utilized in areas as numerous because the web, tv and radio, and worldwide aviation.

The success of English all through the world stems from two main causes: the far reaching affect of the British Empire, and the 20th century (and persevering with) dominance of the USA within the fields of enterprise and leisure.

French was for a time the lingua franca (the origin of time period) in Europe. In historical past, each England and France had been dominated by a single crown – the language utilized by the royal courtroom was French (English was thought-about “the peasant’s language”). Afterwards, as was the case with English, the French empire unfold its language by way of colonization. French continues to be one of many world’s most generally spoken languages. (Supply: Wikipedia)

If we take a look at the definition of second language then we will simply say that English is the second language of Bangladesh. It’s extensively utilized in many elements of our nationwide life. Many individuals watch English tv channels and likewise use Web. The scholars have to check it for twelve years and those that wish to be part of civil service by attending BCS examination even have to take a seat for English examination. The one factor that’s lacking from the above definition is the truth that aside from formal events nobody speaks in English in Bangladesh. It isn’t the language utilized in residence amongst relations and amongst pals in casual dialog.

Overseas language:

A overseas language is a language not spoken by the indigenous folks of a sure place: for instance, English is a overseas language in Japan. It’s also a language not spoken within the native nation of the particular person referred to, i.e. an English speaker residing in Japan can say that Japanese is a overseas language to her or him.

Some youngsters study multiple language from delivery or from a really younger age: they’re bilingual. These youngsters will be mentioned to have two mom tongues: neither language is overseas to that baby, even when one language is a overseas language for the overwhelming majority of individuals within the kid’s delivery nation. For instance, a toddler studying English from her English mom in Japan can communicate each English and Japanese, however neither is a overseas language to her. (Supply- Wikipedia)

From the above definition, it’s seen that overseas language refers to a language that isn’t native to an individual. From this standpoint English will be thought-about as a overseas language in Bangladesh since it isn’t native in our nation. Hardly any Bangladeshi particular person speaks in English though a lot of them use it in schooling and enterprise.

Official language:

An official language is one thing that’s given a singular standing within the international locations, states, and different territories. It’s sometimes the language utilized in a nation’s legislative our bodies, although the regulation in many countries requires that authorities paperwork be produced in different languages as nicely.

Formally acknowledged minority languages are sometimes mistaken for official languages. Nonetheless, a language formally acknowledged by a state, taught in faculties, and utilized in official communication is just not essentially an official language. For instance, Ladin and Sardinian in Italy and Mirandese in Portugal are solely formally acknowledged minority languages, not official languages within the strict sense.

Half of the international locations on the planet have official languages. Some have just one official language, resembling Albania, France, or Lithuania, although in all these international locations there are different native languages spoken as nicely. Some have multiple official language, resembling Afghanistan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Eritrea, Finland, India, Paraguay, South Africa, and Switzerland.

In some international locations, resembling Iraq, Italy, Russia and Spain, there may be an official language for the nation, however different languages are co-official in some vital areas. Some international locations, resembling Australia, Sweden, Tuvalu, and the USA don’t have any official languages.

The official languages of some former colonies, sometimes French or English, should not the nationwide languages or probably the most extensively spoken language.

In distinction, as a consequence of nationalism, Irish is the “nationwide language” of the Republic of Eire and its first official language, though it’s spoken by solely a small fraction of its folks. English, which is spoken by the bulk, is described solely because the second official language (Structure of Eire, Article 8).

In some international locations, the difficulty of which language is for use in what context is a serious political subject.(Supply-Wikipedia)

From the above definition, it’s seen that the notion of official language is difficult. In line with our structure English can’t be termed because the official language of Bangladesh because it has no standing in our structure. The one language that’s talked about in our structure is Bangla. However English is allowed in our parliament and plenty of authorities occasions. For instance, when there’s a authorities occasion wherein some foreigners attend then in lots of circumstances the audio system use English language. Many vital authorities paperwork are written each in Bangla and English. The parliament proceedings are saved into these two languages. When a authorities physique organizes a good then usually the memento is printed in English.


Concerning the language of the nation the Bangladeshi structure clearly states:

“The state language.

The state language of the Republic is (Bangla).”

(Supply: (http://www.pmo.gov.bd/structure/consti2.htm#3).)

Within the structure nothing is talked about concerning the standing of English. English is just not talked about as a second language or official language. So if we take the standing of English in our structure then we can not declare that English is a Second language or Official Language in Bangladesh.

English in Legislation courtroom in Bangladesh:

After Independence the federal government took the initiative to implement Bangla language in regulation courtroom. Because of this, now the decrease courts perform their actions in Bangla however English is but very influential in Excessive Courtroom and Supreme Courtroom. If a lawyer needs to apply in Supreme courtroom then he will need to have a great command over English language. Most of the judges nonetheless give their verdicts in English language. Plainly this development of utilizing English will stay for the forcible future.

English in Training sector in Bangladesh:

Formal and institutionalized schooling system began in Bangladesh through the British rule. At the moment Bangladesh was a part of British India. There was a debate concerning the medium of schooling. Raja Rammohan Roy argued that the medium must be English relatively than Sanskrit or Persian. Through the British interval the medium of schooling was largely in English. Calcutta College took an initiative in 1935 to introduce Bangla as a medium of schooling together with English. In Bangladesh using Bangla in faculty stage began within the 1960s. Now college students can reply within the examinations in Bangla or English. Within the faculty stage and college stage after 1971 the federal government tried to patronize Bangla and implement it by changing English within the schooling sector however this didn’t got here into actuality due to some primary issues. The primary downside is that there have been not sufficient books of any area in Bangla language. This downside is extra acute in science and expertise. For instance, there are virtually no books in Bangla about pc expertise that can be utilized as a reference e book within the College stage.

Truly there are three sorts of schooling programs in our country- Bangla medium, English medium, and Madrasa system. Bangla medium faculties will be divided into two sections- authorities faculties, and kindergarten faculties. Within the kindergarten faculties extra emphasis is given on English language than authorities faculties. A few of the well-known kindergarten faculties of Dhaka are Vikarounnesa, Holycross, Willes Little Flower, and so forth. Though these faculties belong to Bangla medium the scholars have to check 3-Four English books like: Radiant Manner, Lively English, Desk Work, Basic English, Brighter Grammar, and so forth. However within the authorities faculties there may be primarily one English e book (English for In the present day) which is printed by Bangladesh Textual content Guide Board. The English medium faculties don’t comply with Bangladeshi schooling system and are below the supervision of British Council. The medium of instruction in these faculties is English and lots of the college students of English medium are even very weak in Bangla language. There are two sorts of Madrassas – Dakhil and Kawmi. The Kawmi Madrassas should not acknowledged by the federal government and don’t obtain any help from the federal government. On this Madrassas emphasis is given on studying Arabic, Persian, and Urdu whereas Bangla and English are uncared for. However in Dakhil Madrassas emphasis is especially given on Arabic and Bangla and English should not a lot uncared for.

So we will clearly see that the distinction in schooling system in Bangladesh is solely primarily based on the distinction within the medium of schooling. Though Bangla is the Nationwide-Official language of Bangladesh it’s the English medium schooling institutes who get more cash. The rise of personal universities has solely elevated the standing and significance of English language in Bangladesh. There are actually greater than 50 personal Universities in Bangladesh and the medium of schooling in all of them is English. These universities cost 2 lakh to five lakh taka for Bachelor course. If the medium of schooling was in Bangla then hardly any scholar or dad and mom would get to pay such large cash for the schooling in personal universities.

From the above dialogue it’s clear that in our common schooling system English has equal if no more significance than Bangla. In our schooling system English is actually the Second language as all the scholars have to check it as a obligatory topic for twelve years.

English and Administration:

Through the language motion the folks of Bangladesh had been afraid that if Urdu was established because the State Language of Pakistan then all the federal government actions will likely be carried out in Urdu and our folks will undergo. On account of the language motion, the Pakistani Regime saved on finishing up authorities actions in English language. After Bangladesh grew to become impartial the federal government of Awami League determined to switch English with Bangla in administrative works however after the demise of Sheikh Mujib this course of got here to a halt and English continued to stay because the dominant language. It was through the rule of Ershad Bangla Procholon Aeen of 1987 was created and carried out. From that point English began to lose its significance in administration. Nonetheless, it must be talked about that each one the worldwide communication of Bangladesh authorities is carried out by way of English.

English in Financial actions:

The financial system of Bangladesh depends on overseas aids and export of some frequent gadgets like prepared made clothes, jute, tea, fish and so on and likewise we import a number of issues. Bangladesh is just not independent economically. Buying and selling is extra widespread than manufacturing. Buying and selling requires fixed communication with overseas corporations. Most of the corporations who’re concerned in buying and selling have to make use of English in coping with foreigners. Suppose, an organization is doing buying and selling with China which isn’t an English talking nation. Then the corporate has to contact the Chinese language firm in English. If we take a look at the ads of the personal sector jobs then we will simply discover that a lot of the job ads are posted in English. Even a lot of the personal sector job ads which can be posted in Bengali newspapers are posted in English. Virtually all of the personal jobs state that the candidates will need to have good proficiency in English language. Virtually all the general public restricted corporations publish their annual studies in English. A few of these corporations produce a Bangla model of their annual report however the emphasis is at all times on English. So it’s clear that English is the dominant language in our financial actions.

Comparability of English with Arabic, Sanskrit, and Pali in Bangladesh:

Arabic, Sanskrit and Pali are the non secular languages of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists respectively. Even the uneducated folks attempt to study these languages as they’re thought-about to be holy. If we evaluate the educational of English with these languages then we will see that English is given extra significance. For instance, the schooling charge of a English teaching middle is far larger than that of an Arabic teaching centre. English personal tutors get 4-5 occasions more cash than Arabic personal tutors (Huzur). So though Arabic has non secular sentiment hooked up to it English is taken into account to be extra vital because it has financial profit.

Comparability of English overseas languages like French, German, and Farsi:

French and German have grow to be very fashionable for financial causes in our nation. Studying these languages assist us to extend our chance to get a UN job. Studying French can also be useful for getting immigration to Canada. Additionally there are good services to study these languages in Dhaka College, Alliance Francaise, and Goethe Institute. Lately, the English Institute of North South College has launched French course. However through the Muslim reign Farsi was the language of the Royal administration and regulation courtroom in Bangladesh. At current, a scholar can attend Farsi course for one semester by simply paying tk. 250 in Iran Cultural Heart however there should not many college students who’re to study Farsi, French, and German. However, a whole bunch of scholars every year seem for TOEFL and IELTS exams in English language.

From the above image it’s clear that the standing of English is far larger than overseas languages like German, French, and Farsi. We can’t deny the fact that if an individual is sweet at English then he can earn cash in any a part of Bangladesh but when an individual is sweet at French, German, or Farsi he has hardly any scope to earn cash by utilizing his abilities in these languages.


From the dialogue to date there is no such thing as a doubt that English is the second language of Bangladesh however this actuality is just not mirrored in our structure. Formally Bangladesh is just not often known as an ESL nation to the skin world. So Bangladesh must be declared as an ESL nation by the federal government with none delay. We study English not as a result of we like Shakespeare or Dickens. We study English from out of day-after-day necessity. If Bangladesh is said as an ESL nation and English language is given a transparent standing within the structure then it is not going to solely replicate the fact but in addition it can assist us internationally. Now Bangladesh is desperately attempting to draw overseas buyers. Earlier than any firm involves Bangladesh for exploring the funding alternatives one of many key areas they might search for is the supply of pool of English graduates and so they additionally anticipate that the conventional employees may have primary understanding of English language. If we grow to be an ESL nation then these overseas corporations whereas looking out about Bangladesh will get assured concerning the robust presence of English language on this nation.

The identical image is there about instructional sector. Many Bangladeshi college students wish to go to developed international locations like USA, UK , Canada, and Australia for larger schooling. If Bangladesh is said as an ESL nation then these college students will likely be benefited as a result of then the Universities of these international locations will get the concept that English has particular significance in Bangladesh.

So I like to recommend to the federal government of Bangladesh that English must be declared because the second language of the nation by amending the structure.


Bangladesh is the one nation on the planet whose folks sacrificed their lives for the language. Now the historic language motion of 1952 is acknowledged internationally because the Worldwide Mom Language Day. It’s true that our persons are emotional about their language, Bangla. Nonetheless, it’s equally true that now our folks have grow to be determined about getting expert in English language. Because of this, there are greater than fifty personal universities now in Bangladesh. If North South Provided BBA and Laptop Science programs in Bangla medium then they might not get even 10% of the variety of college students they’ve now. It’s now good time that we end the nice contradiction concerning the language subject and declare Bangladesh as an ESL nation for our personal profit.


1. Dr. Musa, Monsur. BHASHACINTA PROSONGO O PORIDHI. Dhaka:Bangla

Academy, 2002.

2. Dr. Musa, Monsur. BANGLADESHER RASHTRABHASHA. Dhaka:Bangla

Academy, 2002.


BHASHATATTA. Dhaka:Bangla Academy, 1996.

4. Dr. Musa, Monsur. BANGLA PARIBHASHA: ITIHAS O SAMASYA. Dhaka:Bangla

Academy, 2002.

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