Welcome to The Warwick ELT, the e-zine from Warwick!

Editorial…

Welcome to the first Issue of ‘The Warwick ELT’!

It is our immense pleasure to come up with the first issue of the e-zine, ‘The Warwick ELT’ through our united effort. We, The Warwick ELT team hope we all will be able to initiate healthy academic discussion and disseminate our learnings on ELT practices, concerns and some research issues through this forum. Before leaving our own countries or the counties in UK, we had never thought that we could begin this publication voyage in Warwick. But now with the guidance of our tutors from the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), the University of Warwick and the support and contribution from our friends from CAL, it has been possible to bring this issue out. And this e-zine in the present form is the replica of our joint concerted effort which we could offer you on the eve of Happy New Year 2017.

Most of us are studying at the University of Warwick after serving as teacher and teacher educators in different contexts and some of us are new and equally interested in exploring recent ELT trends, perspective and practices. We all have uniquely untold ELT stories and perspectives, maybe some are backed by some theories too. We will let the world know our multicultural experience, perspectives and practices from Warwick. Oftentimes, we will also provide this space if any other ELT practitioners from any parts of the world want to contribute to our forum. We will be more than happy to welcome any relevant contributions.

As announced for the call for papers, for this issue we have selected a theme ‘English in the Globe: What, How and Why is it?’, in which 6 authors from Senegal, Brazil, South Sudan, China and Iran have contributed their articles. They have given a clear picture of the roles and status of English and other languages in their countries.

Oumar Djigo in his article ‘The Status of English and Other Languages in Senegal’ presents a description of the different facts and events which characterized the insertion of English as a Lingua Franca and French as an official language, and how these have influenced the use of local languages in Senegal. Similarly, Mirian Fuhr in her article ‘An Overview on the Study of English and Other Languages in Brazil’ describes and discusses people’s attitudes towards both English and other languages, such as German and Spanish, looking at some aspects of their status and roles in Brazil. Julius Onen Ogot Daniel in his article ‘English and Other Languages in Sudan’ shows the position of English, what English did and is still doing in the daily activities of the government and other development partners, education and media sectors and what the population say about English.  In the article ‘English and Korean in China: How do Chinese People Perceive?’, Shizheng Liu (Wallace) discusses the spread of these languages since both are considered as foreign languages in China and briefly discuss the attitude of Chinese people towards English. Last but not least, Mehdi  Gholikhan in his article ‘Foreign Language Education in Iran’ gives the picture of the foreign language situation of Iran through some historical details and discusses the assessment system adopted to measure language education in Iran.

For your comfort, we have hyperlinked the articles below

  1. The Status of English and Other Languages in Senegal by Oumar Djigo
  2. An Overview on the Study of English and Other Languages in Brazil by  Mirian Fuhr
  3. English and Other Languages in Sudan by Julius Onen Okot Daniel
  4. English and Korean in China: How do Chinese People Perceive? by Shizheng Liu (Wallace)
  5. Foreign Language Education in Iran by Mehdi Gholikhan

Finally, we would like to thank especially,  Richard Smith who made us think the theme of this issue critically at first in the form of our first exploratory task for Research Methodology in ELT module. This analytical perspective of reviewing articles on this theme has made it possible to come up as a collection of articles in this issue. Similarly, we would like to thank Steve Mann, Annamaria Pinter and Jo Gakonga for their suggestions while we were in the process of setting it up. Thanks also goes to all our tutors from CAL who are the only source of inspiration for everything we do and who have been helping us to have wider and critical perspectives on ELT issues and current trends. Equally, we would like to thank the Hornby Trust and British Council in enabling us to be together from different countries in the University of Warwick as a result, most of the scholars are working for this forum now.

Finally, we would like to offer you this uniquely articulated ELT gift on the eve of a very Happy New Year 2017.

Wishing you a very productive and happy New Year 2017!

Issue Editors,

Sagun Shrestha, Maricarmen Gamero and Frazer Smith

 The Status of English and Other Languages in Senegal

*Oumar Moussa Djigo 

Abstract

The spread of English around the world and its international status as a lingua franca have shaken many boundaries and laid its tentacles in many countries previously colonised by the British empire. A good number of African countries have also witnessed this ‘linguistic imperialism’ which took the fore at the expense of local languages. As a result, countries like Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Gambia, to quote but a few, have English as their official language. However, West African countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin and Senegal have lived under the banner of France during colonisation and therefore adopted French as their certified language in education, media and for any administrative purposes. Despite this fact, the status of English in Senegal has tremendously soared up and Senegalese people learn the language of Shakespeare for different purposes. This paper will primarily deal with the roles and functions of English and other languages in Senegal.

Introduction

In Senegal, English is taught as a second language. French is the official and colonial language used for administrative and academic purposes. However, there are several ethnic groups, therefore six different local languages are spoken in different parts of the country. Even though English language has grown apace in business, trade, tourism and international exchanges, it is still considered as a foreign language taught at secondary school level. It has obviously gained a prominent place in the Senegalese curriculum as a result of the commitment of its practitioners and the support of foreign English Language institutes such as the British Council and the regional English Language office of the American embassy, but it is still used for specific purposes.

Roles and functions of other languages

The cultural and ethnic diversity in Senegal is a remarkable feature among the western African countries. In fact, there are six officially recognized local languages (Pular, Serere, Wolof, Diola, Soninke, Manding) spoken by different ethnic groups throughout the country.

Despite this multilingualism, Wolof is widely used for communication purposes by the government, at the court, at the national assembly and even as a medium of instruction in education. According to Malherbe (1989), “Wolof is one of the African languages which has gained an undeniable cultural expansion. It has become the ‘Lingua Franca’ of many Senegalese people from different ethnic groups”. This is unarguably true because even the president of the Republic addresses the population in French and Wolof. It has also been found by the international electronic review of the sciences of language (Sudlangues) that 80% of the population use Wolof as a means of communication even though only 44% of them have it as a mother tongue.  Despite these facts, Pular remains a widespread language with 3,450,000 speakers of the language. (Ethnologue.com)

Senegal, like many other countries also hosts immigrants from different nationalities. According to the Ethnologue website, there is a huge variety of immigrant languages such as Bambara ( 70,000), Kabuverdiano (34,000), Krio (6,100), Mooré 937,000), Portuguese (1,700) and Vietnamese (2,500), mainly in the capital city.

As a former French colony, Senegal under the government of Leopold Senghor ( first president and prominent character of the French academy), has adopted French as its official Language despite the burning ambitions of many advocates to introduce the local languages in the national syllabus. According to Diallo a Senegalese writer, “Senghor thought it was evident that promoting the national languages and eventually using them as languages of instruction would be a serious obstacle to the educational, economical and technological advancement of the country”. Scientist and fierce advocate of the national languages, Diop (1955), argued that “the African Languages can and must serve as a means of development for Africa because they can be a medium for knowledge and science”(Cited in Cisse, 2005: 109).

However, local languages such as Wolof, Serere, Pular and Diola are still taught at University level as second Languages in order to help the speakers of those Languages to better understand how their mother tongues work. My brother who studied English at the university had chosen Pular as a second language which enriched his language skills and enabled him to identify the similarities between Pular and other foreign languages.

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An Overview on the Study of English and Other Languages in Brazil

*Mirian Fuhr

This article briefly describes and discusses people’s attitudes towards both English and other languages, such as German and Spanish, looking at some aspects of their status and roles in Brazil, through my own experience as a teacher of English as a foreign language and learner of foreign languages myself. There are connections to some literature and some general reflection on the spread of English in South America in general. The text illustrates the issue of learning other languages in schools and in private language institutions. It also presents some reflection connecting the learning of another language to real-life needs, such as professional development due to working demand, and on the other hand, the learning of another language linked to personal desire. This reflection allows the conclusion that learning languages in Brazil other than the mother tongue is connected to social class and to each individual’s perception. Furthermore, there has been an increase in the demand for English learning, at the same time as there is a lack in the learner’s efficiency when communicating in the language.

Keywords: Brazil. Teaching. English. Status and roles of foreign languages.

Introduction

Brazil with a population of 204,260,000 (Ethnologue, 2016) is one of the largest countries in the world and the biggest in Latin America. However, it is the only country to have Portuguese as the official language, while the others around speak Spanish. Besides this, as many people migrated from Germany and Italy in the past, many regions have a huge influence of these cultures and languages. Some public regular schools, mostly in the countryside, where the German dialect Hunsrik is usually spoken by some people, equally to some private regular schools do teach Standard German in their curriculums. Besides, there are still some evidence of Indian natives who try to keep their cultures and the use of their indigenous languages inside their communities at least.

Last but not least, the spread of English can also be identified in South America as mentioned by Rajagopalan (2006). Although English was probably first introduced in Brazil in 1809, after Portuguese colonisation, especially for political reasons. This assignment then focuses on describing some aspects of the status and roles of English and of other languages in Brazil, reflecting also upon people’s attitude towards them based on some readings, and on my own reflection through my own experience as a teacher and as a learner of foreign languages myself.  

Other languages spoken and studied in Brazil

Differently from nowadays when only a few people study French, it was originally the first foreign language taught at Brazilian schools, as stated by Gil (2009). Out of the school context, there were other languages being spoken at that time, such as German and Italian. There are still many people who speak a Brazilian dialect of German and Italian languages, as confirmed by the National Curricular Parameters, a document known as PCNs (Brasil, 1998), especially people from the countryside. However, these languages do not have a high status in the country. On the other hand, because of the existence of many international companies, there can be some value given to German language speakers mostly, although those companies usually tend to use English as a lingua franca in order to communicate and to do business among their partners. There is a certain influence of Spanish at the borders with Uruguay, for example, and also because of the trade organization MERCOSUL (Brasil, 1998), people usually speak Portunol, defined by Rajagopalan (2006: 147) as a Portuguese version of Spanish that can be understood by people who speak Spanish. In reflection to this, teaching Spanish has become mandatory at regular schools (Brasil, 1996).

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English and Other Languages in South Sudan

* Julius Onen Okot Daniel

Abstract

This article analyses the roles and status of English and other languages in South Sudan, the country which got independence in 2011. The author shows the position of English, what English did and is still doing in the daily activities of the government and other development partners, education and media sectors and what the population say about English. In the past, regional languages were not important, but is there a new policy after independence to address this issue? The article equally addresses this question.

Introduction

English has become the most widespread language in the world including in South Sudan which became the youngest nation to escape from the Arab colonial master five years ago. Before independence, Arabic was the official language recognised by the government, while English was only taught as a subject in schools and other languages were never mentioned in learning institutions. After several years of failed fighting between Southern and Northern Sudan, the referendum was held which was a part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the second round of Sudan’s prolonged war fought with an issue of marginalization in 2005 and a transitional government was formed under the watch of the United Nations. It was at interim period, parliament in the temporary government passed a motion declaring English as the official language (Abdel, 2012) whereas some regional languages would be used as medium of instruction at lower primary schools. Change of language policy from Arabic to English is meant to function as a medium of instruction in learning institutions and as a medium of communication in government sectors in South Sudan.

Status and roles of English

The English language in South Sudan took over the position of Arabic and became the official language in the country. The government declared it and gave English the legal status and special roles and duties. The roles of English became enormous. First, it turned out to be a major language of communication in government organs such as Parliament, Judiciary and the Executive, (ibid). Abdel further mentions, ‘English is also used widely by the officials of the government of Southern Sudan, especially when talking to the international media’ (2012: 133). English attracted the attention of the world, especially; the English-speaking countries, to support developmental projects. In addition, English transformed the education system and changed syllabi, learning materials and curricula to be designed and written in English. Again Abdel says, ‘English is used as a medium of instruction in most of the schools and universities operating in the South’ (2012:133). International communities therefore, brought in new teaching and learning methodologies and approaches to support teaching learning of the English language in South Sudan.

Thus, publishers of English learning and teaching materials expanded the market to supply South Sudan. (Brutt, 2002) gave the view about ‘the formation of domestic market’ in different sectors to supply learning logistics. Business partners of English speaking countries found their way into South Sudan to create wealth and employ new ideas to develop the country at the time, they earn their profit because of language uniformity and easy understanding of one another. The role of English did not only expand the market, government also invited foreign teachers and trainers of English to conduct English Language Training (ELT) for adults and transform graduates of Arabic pattern to become English users. For this case, ‘clerks with a good command of English could find job opportunities in the government’ (Abdel, 2012: 131). Continue reading

English in China: How do Chinese People Perceive?

*Shizheng Liu (Wallace)

Abstract

When the Chinese government innovatively issued the so-called ‘reform and opening up’ policy in the late 1970s, China, a country which used to be isolated from the modern world, set her feet on the road to the globalization. The globalization in China has impacted on many aspects of Chinese society, such as the economy, society and culture. Speaking of cultural globalization in China, one of its embodiments is that numerous foreign languages begin to be embraced by Chinese society. For instance, English, as a global language, is widely learned in China and even becomes a compulsory subject in Chinese schools. Also, there are some other languages such as Japanese and Korean becoming increasingly popular due to their cultural input in China. Therefore, having felt the significance of dealing with the status of these languages in China, this paper will explore the status and role of English and other languages like Korean in China, and discuss Chinese’s general attitudes towards these foreign languages.

Introduction

English as a language of word communications and trade, actually has influenced so many countries, and China is no exception (Gil & Adamson, unknown, p.23). Actually, the role and status of English in contemporary China has shifted many times. English was limited to most schools as a foreign language back in the early 1950s because the relationship between China and Russia was intimate and thus Russian-teaching was largely promoted at that time. Due to the political schisms between Russia and China in the 1960s, English went into schools, whereas Russian was abandoned. During the Cultural Revolution, English-teaching was illegal in most of places in China. From the end of Cultural Revolution to nowadays, the status of English in China has been constantly increasing (Gil & Adamson, unknown, p.25). As Gil & Adamson point out (unknown), English language currently has the unprecedented value in China. In addition, Bolton and Graddol (2012) also utilized “unprecedented popularity” to describe the role of English in current Chinese society. Specifically, the unprecedented importance of English mainly reflects on the language policies and education systems in China. According to Tsui & Tollefson (2007, p.18), Chinese language policymakers regard English not only as an essential tool for the nation to achieve goals, but also as the indispensable resource for individuals to accomplish personal progress. The revival of English teaching in China started with the “reform and opening up” policy, and grew rapidly throughout the 1990s and 2000s because of the official promotion of English by Chinese government. In the education system, the Chinese government lowered the age at which English is taught, and rendered English as a crucial part of key examinations in order to ensure the importance of English (Bolton & Graddol, 2012). More specifically, the Chinese government enacted a policy in 2001, saying that any school-age children above 8 or in Year 3 of primary schools must be taught English (Wang, 2007). Under such circumstances, numerous private kindergarten schools proclaiming the ability to teach Chinese preschool children English appear and grow considerably fast because Chinese parents across the nation try to offer their children as much educational advantage as possible by providing them early English education (Bolton & Graddol, 2012). Furthermore, English test is even included in the National University Entrance Qualifying Exam, namely GaoKao, which is taken by more than 9 million students in China every year, alongside with Chinese and Maths (China Daily, 2010). The importance of English does not reduce even at university since all undergraduates in China, regardless of their majors, are required to pass College English Test (CET) before graduation (Bolton & Graddol, 2012). Therefore, it can be seen that English has

English in Practice

Apart from education systems, English also has huge impact on academic researches, media, business as well as tourism in Chinese society. English has been widely utilized in international academic research conferences in China. Chinese scholars need to be proficient in English if they intend to undertake academic exchanges, publish articles in international academic journals (Gil & Adamson, unknown). Also, some highly ranked educational institutions such as Tsinghua University publish their academic journals in English (Gil & Adamson, unknown). With regard to Media, the importance and presence of English has been constantly increasing as well. Many English publications such as People’s Daily, 21st English, and China Daily are well known and enjoy a large number of consumers (Gil & Adamson, unknown).
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