Linguistic Imperialism: English as a Medium of Instruction in Tanzanian Secondary Education

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  1. Linguistic Imperialism | Publish your master's thesis, bachelor's thesis, essay or term paper
  2. Downloadable Content
  3. The Failure of Language Policy in Tanzanian Schools

Anderson's argument neatly side-steps RP's negations. He points to the need and the value of a print-language to generate imagined communities and build particular solidarities. Anglophone nations, like others, have to build and imagme with what is available, what is least divisive and what is a print language.

"Linguistic Imperialism, Identity, and English Medium Instruction in Lebanon" - Mike Orr [English]

English fits on all counts. The negations are always available, whether for English or other post-imperial language. This Spanish has adopted, as did the conquering Quechua before it, many of the elements from the earlier conquering Jaqi The current rapid expansion of Spanish follows the earlier pattern of the expansions of Jaqi and Quechua: there is some imposition by force not very successful , but far more so by the motives of trade, culture, variety, schooling, work, education.

Hardman, Scholars supporting RP include Pattanyak and Mazrui. Pattanyak, a longstanding critic of English-language hegemony much quoted by RP, approvingly maintains that India should replace English with Hindi Pattanayak, But such a proposal ignores at its peril the opposition of South Indian Dravidian speakers to the imposition of Hindi, to which they are as hostile as Tamil speakers are to the imposition of Sinhala.

Mazrui, again no great friend of English, hints that he too deplores its hegemony, but he is pragmatic and realistic, pointing to the particular solidarity of an attained pan-Africanism, achieved through English:. In a variety of ways the English language was an important causal factor in the growth of African national consciousness.

Indeed learning English was a detribalising process. If one found an African who has mastered the English language, that African had, by definition, ceased to be a full tribesman. To an extent But why should the learning of a language have this effect? The reason lies in the relationship between language and the culture from which it springs.

Mazrui, And Kiernan, who has pondered on the paradoxes of imperialism Kiernan, , makes a related point with regard to Islam and the spread of Arabic. A new religion can have a wider magnetism, and in turn reach all classes. Islam benefited in an exceptional way from the fact that the language of the first Muslim conquerors was the sacred tongue in which the ipsissima verba of Heaven had been delivered. A magic virtue attached to them; talismans inscribed with them abounded, whether the wearers could read them or not.

There was seldom any enforced conversion to Islam, seldom any active preaching of it to unbelievers; it could wait for them to turn to it of their own accord. Kiernan, What RP ignores is a that the choice of English or other imperial language has values of openness, access to and connection with modernism; and b the possibility that oppressed groups' common sense is active enough for them to reject English if they so wish.

In each of these states English was rejected; then later it was re-introduced.

1. Introduction

RP's description of this imbalance is correct: the implications he draws are not. Such an imbalance is not imposed from without but from within. A local 61ite may be no better than a colonial 61ite but it is not imposed externally -unless, of course, RP really does believe in some kind of worldwide capitalist conspiracy which uses English as its vehicle, its control headquarters, it would appear, the University of Edinburgh's Department of Applied Linguistics at 14 Buccleuch Place.

RP's lengthy comment on the Edinburgh department and the name Applied Linguistics is surely disingenuous: throughout there is the now familiar sense of plots and secret cabals:. What does the term 'applied linguistics' connote, and why was it chosen as the name for the new department?

Linguistic Imperialism | Publish your master's thesis, bachelor's thesis, essay or term paper

The reasons for omitting 'English' from the name of the department can only be guessed at. My own experience of teaching English and of language planning in Nepal is relevant. During my first period of working in Nepal, English was widely available in the school system; the basic medium of instruction was Nepali but English was taught everywhere as a foreign language and there were private schools in which English was the medium of instruction.

In the early s Nepal withdrew from English for purposes of nation-building it should be remembered that Nepali, the national language, is itself a colonising language, introduced only about years ago. English medium schooling was forbidden. But English did not go away. In the s the ban was lifted, to avoid the unfortunate situation whereby middle class parents were procuring English for their children by voting with their feet, sending them to English medium schools in Darjeeling - itself a Nepali-speaking enclave in India. Eric Glendinning, Alan Maclean and I were asked to survey English teaching in Nepal in the early s and to advise on its future in Nepali education.

We were dismayed with what we found. No school-teacher in the sample we investigated possessed adequate English proficiency which we defined as ability to read at an unsimplified level. For that reason, and in order to avoid the huge waste of time and resource devoted to English for the majority of children who drop out before they have gained any usable language skill, our recommendation was that English should begin in government schools as late as possible, well up in the secondary school.

But this went against:. The fact that there were no teachers was unimportant. It was essential, so government officials argued, for English to start as early as possible, not primarily to teach English but to provide the appearance of equal opportunity Davies, Now, of course, this local Nepalese view may indicate that it too is the victim of hegemony. But how can we tell and, in any case, what can we do about it? At bottom, LI is an attack on the domination of power and a heartfelt appeal for the rights of the weak and the powerless.

Such a righteous position is hard to fault. RP spends 35 pages of the book attacking the organisation and findings of the famous Makerere conference , held in Uganda in I propose to look at his arguments here in some detail since they seem to me to be indicative of his deterministic approach:. The key conference which decided on priorities for ELT in the newly independent countries was the Commonwealth Conference on the Teaching of English as a Second Language, held at Makerere, Uganda in The doctrine that was to underlie ELT work was enshrined at Makerere in a number of tenets There was an almost exclusive concentration on English at the Makerere conference itself The conference did not look at the overall educational needs of periphery-English children, or even their overall linguistic development, but at English and ways of strengthening English.

This anglocentric focus, the professionalism endorsed at Makerere, and the structural and ideological consequences of adhering to the tenets amount to English linguistic imperialism. In the first place it is hardly surprising that the conference concentrated on English. After all, its purposes were:. Makerere, 2. In the second place, it cannot seriously be maintained that the conference 'did not look at the overall educational needs of periphery-English children, or even their overall linguistic development', for while the discussion during the conference may have concentrated exclusively on English, the recommendations certainly do not.

Annex 5 pp. Between a third and a half of these topics refer to the leamer's linguistic and cultural background. The psychological effects of a second language medium. Research into the needs and demands of the learner and the community from the point of view of practical bilingualism. Commenting on what happened after the Makerere Conference, RP maintains that very little progress has been made on these topics for research and investigation, and that little British aid has been channelled into support for languages other than English p.

Too much English, too little research on its impact, very little on local languages. These are RP's conclusions. Are they post-Makerere correct? His last point very little on local languages probably is correct. But he is wrong about the lack of progress on the topics for research listed in the Makerere Report. After all, many studies have been carried out in postgraduate dissertations in Commonwealth including UK universities, investigating language contact between English and one or other local language, and the authors of many of these dissertations have been students funded by British aid moneys.

If he means that research still hasn't delivered on what to do about the impact of English or any similar language of wider communication on local languages, then of course he is correct. We don't, but that is not a failure of research effort, rather it shows the seriousness and the intractability of the problems. As for the 'tenets' RP claims were fundamental to the Makerere doctrine, he is not on firm ground. Our aim is to provide at all levels qualified teachers who are indigenous to the country in which the teaching takes place.

In countries where English is recognised as a second language, its teaching should be based on its direct use as a spoken language, and it should be introduced as early as possible in the child's school life when this is of advantage to the child. Makerere, 8; my italics. Again the discussion in the Report underlines the complexity of the decisions to be taken. RP's conclusion on length is based on the previous tenet, the earlier the better.

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But what does the Report actually say? Chapter 4 states that it is necessary to take into account inter alia psychological factors such as:. Makerere, 8. It is unclear where in the Makerere report RP finds evidence for this tenet. What I find is a summary of the range of options open to educational authorities planning to move to English medium. These may be summarised:.

These alternative suggestions surely indicate that the Makerere Report cannot be convicted of subscribing to RP's 5th tenet:. What remedies does RP offer? So it is with relief that we come to the solutions he sets out on page , where he sums up the advice he and colleagues offered to the Organisation for African Unity in , after experience in Namibia.

Here are the conclusions they came to, with my comments in brackets:. What does 'maximally inside and outside the education system' mean in practice? How is it to be achieved? Where are the teachers and the teaching materials to come from? This seems to be a statement of belief rather than a plan for action. Which states are those? What type of bilingualism is to be adopted?

This is unrealistic, nice like apple pie, but unattainable. No donor country can make such an open-ended commitment. It is perhaps relevant to note that Namibia is a small country population c. To what extent can we generalise to large highly populated multilingual states? I began this article by distinguishing RP's how from his why. LI does provide the reader with an interesting collection of materials relating to the how.

It is unfortunate that that interest is disturbed and eventually destroyed by the insistence in the book on the why. Let me set out my reasons for making this judgement:. His apparent wish is for a static, non-dynamic interaction. Until the 18th century 'the "choice" of language appears as a gradual, unselfconscious, pragmatic, not to say haphazard development'. The post colonial promotion of English seems much more like this earlier movement than the 'self-conscious language policies pursued by 19th century dynasts confronted with the rise of hostile popular linguistic-nationalisms' Anderson, Post-colonial nationalisms do indeed need language to generate imagined communities.

But that language does not have to be the former imperial language: any print language will do, as shown in Anderson's discussion of Indonesia. Apart from its absurdity, such a view exaggerates the importance of language Brass, Language is indicative, it is not causal of social divisiveness. LI may not be a spoof but it is a clever book. Clever, not because it illuminates our understanding in a new way but because it taps delicately and accurately into the widespread guilt felt by the rich North about the poor South.

But, as a general theory to explain the growth of ELT in the world, it will not do. The role of language in the imperial enterprise is indeed important. It deserves the attention RP has given it, as is shown by the interest expressed by scholars in his treatment. Although Kiswahili seems to be the ideal language of education and national unity for Tanzanians, some scholars have raised alarm on the status ascribed to Kiswahili at the expense of the other indigenous languages.

However, various projects have been invited to document the endangered languages. Teaching English in Tanzania Works Cited. Lewis, M. Miguel, Edward. Nation building and public goods in Kenya versus Tanzania. World Politics Petzell, M. Moderna Sprak, 1 , Qorro, M. Language of instruction in Tanzania: Why are research findings not heeded? Science Business Media. Roy-Campbell, Zalime M. Empowerment Through Langauge. This web page has a copyright.

It may be referred to and quoted, or reproduced and distributed for educational purposes according to fair use legislation only if the following citation is included in the document:. Kyalo, C. Language Education Policies in Tanzania. Tochon Ed. Language Education Policy Studies.

An International Network. Policy Processes. Policy or Management? English Language Teaching. Linguistic Hegemony. Linguistic Ideology. Language Marginalization. Linguistic Human Rights. Mother Tongue Education. Impacts on Education. Language Discrimination. Cultural language learning. Bilingual Models. Research Implications. National Frameworks. Standards as Policy. Evaluation as Policy.

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  • 1. Introduction.
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  • Coming To Terms With History?

Theatre Pedagogy. Paolo Freire. Body Performance Art. Academic Journals. The Field of Language Monolingualism. World Languages. Sign Languages and LHR. Defining Language and Act. Indigenous Languages. Language Variations. Language Ecology. Mother Tongue. Language Deficit. Minority Languages.

The Failure of Language Policy in Tanzanian Schools

Heritage Language 1. Heritage Language 2. Family Language Policy. Anecdotes for Resources. Who is Displaced. Strategy: Translanguaging. Lesson Plan: Valerian. WorldRegions Introduction. Indigenous World Regions. Region: Africa Africa: Tanzania. Africa: Sub-Sahara. Africa: Senegal.