Condition of English in Bangladesh: Second Language or Foreign Language

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. Alternatively we cannot dwell in isolation. We have now to keep in touch with the audio system of different languages. Bangladesh is taken into account to be a monolingual nation by which greater than 98% of the inhabitants is audio system of Bangla language. Nevertheless, 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 usually portrayed as a rustic of linguistic unity based mostly on Bangla language in actuality it has notable linguistic variety. To speak with the audio system of different languages we both have to know their language or talk in a Lingua-Franca that’s understandable to each of us.

As we speak, the world has turn out to be a worldwide village. Because of the development of communication system and know-how. Each nation depends on others for commerce and commerce, training, politics and many others. Consequently, now we have to consistently talk with different international locations and audio system of different languages. Third world international locations like Bangladesh must depend upon international assist as a result of they aren’t self-sufficient. Consequently, 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 usually utilized in training, legislation court docket, financial actions and authorities works. These languages have more often than not official standing within the structure of these international locations. Lots of the circumstances the international locations have adopted the language of their previous colonial rulers because the second language. Typically these languages are additionally referred to as official language. In lots of African international locations we will see this image. Alternatively, some European languages have turn out to be crucial on this planet for literary and financial functions. For instance, German and French are thought of to be vital languages of the world as a result of each of them have influential literature and financial points related to them.

For instance, many individuals in our nation have an interest to be taught French as a result of it might assist them to get UN jobs and jobs in Multinational corporations. One other engaging motivation for studying French in Bangladesh is that it might assist us to immigrate to Canada as talent in French language provides 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 international language?” I’ve chosen this subject 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 facet of our nationwide life whereas then again in our structure it’s clearly declared that the language of the nation is Bangla. In reality, nothing is claimed concerning the standing of English language in our structure. On one hand, financial actions within the non-public corporations are carried out in English whereas there’s a authorities legislation (Bangla procholon ain1987) that authorities places of work should use Bangla of their official works. So from the federal government standpoint Bangla is the national- official language of Bangladesh and English is an important international 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 apart from the primary, or native, language discovered; it’s sometimes used due to geographical or social causes. The time period is to be distinguished from international language; linguist Eric Lenneberg makes use of second language in his crucial interval speculation to imply a language consciously discovered or utilized by its speaker after puberty. Typically, 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 right this moment); in Medication (beginning a lot later); Horticulture and organic classification of crops, animals, fruits, nuts, and many others.

Latin was used a lot throughout Europe that it was referred to as the vulgar (or widespread tongue); this is the reason the Latin model of the Bible is named 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 twentieth 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 court docket was French (English was thought of “the peasant’s language”). Afterwards, as was the case with English, the French empire unfold its language by 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 in addition use Web. The scholars have to review it for twelve years and those that need to be part of civil service by attending BCS examination even have to sit down for English examination. The one factor that’s lacking from the above definition is the truth that apart from formal events nobody speaks in English in Bangladesh. It’s not the language utilized in house amongst relations and amongst associates in casual dialog.

Overseas language:

A international language is a language not spoken by the indigenous folks of a sure place: for instance, English is a international 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 international language to her or him.

Some youngsters be taught a couple of language from start or from a really younger age: they’re bilingual. These youngsters might be stated to have two mom tongues: neither language is international to that little one, even when one language is a international language for the overwhelming majority of individuals within the kid’s start nation. For instance, a baby studying English from her English mom in Japan can converse each English and Japanese, however neither is a international language to her. (Supply- Wikipedia)

From the above definition, it’s seen that international language refers to a language that isn’t native to an individual. From this standpoint English might be thought of as a international language in Bangladesh since it isn’t native in our nation. Hardly any Bangladeshi particular person speaks in English though lots of them use it in training 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 legislation in many countries requires that authorities paperwork be produced in different languages as nicely.

Formally acknowledged minority languages are sometimes mistaken for official languages. Nevertheless, a language formally acknowledged by a state, taught in colleges, and utilized in official communication shouldn’t be 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 this planet have official languages. Some have just one official language, corresponding to Albania, France, or Lithuania, even if in all these international locations there are different native languages spoken as nicely. Some have a couple of official language, corresponding to Afghanistan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Eritrea, Finland, India, Paraguay, South Africa, and Switzerland.

In some international locations, corresponding to 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, corresponding to Australia, Sweden, Tuvalu, and the USA haven’t any official languages.

The official languages of some former colonies, sometimes French or English, aren’t 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 significant political concern.(Supply-Wikipedia)

From the above definition, it’s seen that the notion of official language is difficult. In line with our structure English cannot 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 lots of authorities occasions. For instance, when there’s a authorities occasion by which 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 stored 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: [].)

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

English in Legislation court docket in Bangladesh:

After Independence the federal government took the initiative to implement Bangla language in legislation court docket. Consequently, now the decrease courts perform their actions in Bangla however English is but very influential in Excessive Court docket and Supreme Court docket. If a lawyer desires to observe in Supreme court docket then he should have an excellent command over English language. Lots of the judges nonetheless give their verdicts in English language. Plainly this pattern of utilizing English will stay for the forcible future.

English in Training sector in Bangladesh:

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

Truly there are three sorts of training programs in our country- Bangla medium, English medium, and Madrasa system. Bangla medium colleges might be divided into two sections- authorities colleges, and kindergarten colleges. Within the kindergarten colleges extra emphasis is given on English language than authorities colleges. Among the well-known kindergarten colleges of Dhaka are Vikarounnesa, Holycross, Willes Little Flower, and so forth. Though these colleges belong to Bangla medium the scholars have to review 3-4 English books like: Radiant Manner, Energetic English, Desk Work, Elementary English, Brighter Grammar, and so forth. Alternatively within the authorities colleges there may be primarily one English e-book (English for As we speak) which is printed by Bangladesh Textual content Guide Board. The English medium colleges don’t observe Bangladeshi training system and are beneath the supervision of British Council. The medium of instruction in these colleges is English and most 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 aren’t 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. Alternatively in Dakhil Madrassas emphasis is principally given on Arabic and Bangla and English aren’t a lot uncared for.

So we will clearly see that the distinction in training system in Bangladesh is solely based mostly on the distinction within the medium of training. Though Bangla is the Nationwide-Official language of Bangladesh it’s the English medium training 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 non-public Universities in Bangladesh and the medium of training in all of them is English. These universities cost 2 lakh to five lakh taka for Bachelor course. If the medium of training was in Bangla then hardly any pupil or mother and father would get to pay such enormous cash for the training in non-public universities.

From the above dialogue it’s clear that in our normal training system English has equal if no more significance than Bangla. In our training system English is actually the Second language as all the scholars have to review 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. Because of the language motion, the Pakistani Regime stored on finishing up authorities actions in English language. After Bangladesh turned unbiased the federal government of Awami League determined to switch English with Bangla in administrative works however after the dying of Sheikh Mujib this course of got here to a halt and English continued to stay because the dominant language. It was throughout the rule of Ershad Bangla Procholon Aeen of 1987 was created and applied. From that point English began to lose its significance in administration. Nevertheless, it must be talked about that each one the worldwide communication of Bangladesh authorities is carried out by English.

English in Financial actions:

The economic system of Bangladesh depends on international aids and export of some widespread gadgets like prepared made clothes, jute, tea, fish and many others and in addition we import a whole lot of issues. Bangladesh shouldn’t be autonomous economically. Buying and selling is extra in style than manufacturing. Buying and selling requires fixed communication with international corporations. Lots 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 tuition singapore firm in English. If we take a look at the ads of the non-public sector jobs then we will simply discover that many of the job ads are posted in English. Even many of the non-public sector job ads which might be posted in Bengali newspapers are posted in English. Nearly all of the non-public jobs state that the candidates should have good proficiency in English language. Nearly all the general public restricted corporations publish their annual stories 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 spiritual languages of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists respectively. Even the uneducated folks attempt to be taught these languages as they’re thought of to be holy. If we evaluate the training of English with these languages then we will see that English is given extra significance. For instance, the schooling price of a English teaching heart is way larger than that of an Arabic teaching centre. English non-public tutors get 4-5 instances more cash than Arabic non-public tutors (Huzur). So though Arabic has spiritual sentiment connected to it English is taken into account to be extra vital because it has financial profit.

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

French and German have turn out to be highly regarded for financial causes in our nation. Studying these languages assist us to extend our chance to get a UN job. Studying French can be useful for getting immigration to Canada. Additionally there are good services to be taught these languages in Dhaka College, Alliance Francaise, and Goethe Institute. Just lately, the English Institute of North South College has launched French course. Alternatively throughout the Muslim reign Farsi was the language of the Royal administration and legislation court docket in Bangladesh. At current, a pupil can attend Farsi course for one semester by simply paying tk. 250 in Iran Cultural Heart however there aren’t many college students who’re to be taught Farsi, French, and German. Alternatively, lots of of scholars annually seem for TOEFL and IELTS exams in English language.

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


From the dialogue to this point there is no such thing as a doubt that English is the second language of Bangladesh however this actuality shouldn’t be mirrored in our structure. Formally Bangladesh shouldn’t be generally known as an ESL nation to the surface world. So Bangladesh must be declared as an ESL nation by the federal government with none delay. We be taught English not as a result of we like Shakespeare or Dickens. We be taught English from out of day by day necessity. If Bangladesh is asserted 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 is going to assist us internationally. Now Bangladesh is desperately making an attempt to draw international buyers. Earlier than any firm involves Bangladesh for exploring the funding alternatives one of many key areas they might search for is the provision of pool of English graduates and so they additionally count on that the conventional employees could have fundamental understanding of English language. If we turn out to be an ESL nation then these international corporations whereas looking out about Bangladesh will get assured concerning the sturdy presence of English language on this nation.

The identical image is there about instructional sector. Many Bangladeshi college students need to go to developed international locations like USA, UK , Canada, and Australia for larger training. If Bangladesh is asserted 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 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 this 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 individuals are emotional about their language, Bangla. Nevertheless, it’s equally true that now our folks have turn out to be determined about getting expert in English language. Consequently, there are greater than fifty non-public universities now in Bangladesh. If North South Supplied BBA and Pc 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 concern and declare Bangladesh as an ESL nation for our personal profit.

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