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Language Policy in Nepal: Some Observations

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1 Language Policy in Nepal: Some Observations
Mr Bhim Lal Gautam Lecturer Central Department of Linguistics, TU Vice-President Linguistic Society of Nepal

2 Outline Introduction Linguistic/Cultural Diversity of Nepal
Constitutional Provision National Language Recommendation Commission 1993 Existing Language/Educational Policies & Activities Problems Conclusion(Suggestions/recommendations)

3 Introduction Nepal:Area-147,181 square KM(Topographical heterogeneity: Terai- Mt.Everest) Population:26,621,000(2011 census) Literacy Rate:65.9% (2011 census) Ethnic Groups & Castes: More than officially recognized (Mountains ,Hills & Terai Regions) Natural & Cultural diversity

4 Linguistic/Cultural Diversity
Ethnic Groups: More than 100(2011 census) Terai: Tharu,Yadava,Teli,Mushahar,Dhanuk,Kanu, Dhobi,Kurmi,Marwari,Gangai,Halwai, Dhimal,Sikha,Muslim and so on. Hilly Region: Brahman,Chhetri,Magar,Gurung,Newar, Tamang,Kami,Damai,Thakuri,Kumal,Majhi, Lepcha,Gaine,Badi,Thakali,Limbu,Chepang and so on. Mountaineous Region: Sherpa,Lohmi,Loha,Manange,Bhuike and so on.

5 Languages 124 plus languages(2011 census)
120 living languages and 4 listed only(Ethnologue 2012) Four Major Language Families Four different sign languages Language isolate Kusunda ISO listing

6 Indo-Aryan Languages(29)
Nepali,Maithili,Bhojpuri,Awadhi,Tharu, Rajbansi,Kumal,Bote,Majhi,Danuwar,Darai, Angika,Marwari,Bengali,Hindi,Urdu,Jumli, Dailekhi,Dadheldhuri,Bajureli,Darchureli, Gadh awali etc.

7 Tibeto-Burman Languages(86)
Tamang,Sherpa,Gurung,Thakali,Magar,Byansi,Limbu,Bantawa,Dolpo,Newar,Jirel,Kagate,Lhomi,Lhorung,Puma,Chintang,Kulung,Athparia,Bahing,Baram,Chamling,Chantyal,Chhulung,Dumi,Dhimal,Ghale,Kaike,Bhujel,Khaling,Kham,Lepcha,Manangba,Meche,Mugali,Narphu,Nubri,Raji,sampang and so on.

8 Austro-Asiatic(3) Dravidian(1): Santhali, Khadiya,Munda/Mundari
Jhagadh/Kurukh Language Isolate: Kusunda (Watters etal.2005) Sign Languages: Nepali Sign Language Jhankot Sign Language Jumla Sign Language Ghandruk Sign Language

9 Languages With Written Tradition
Nepali,Sanskrit,Maithili,Bhojpuri,Awadhi,Newari,Tamang,Sherpa,Limbu,Urdu,Panjabi,Gurung, Bangali Common script for Nepali and most of the undescribed languages: Devanagari Magar:Akhha,Maithili:Tirahuta/Kaithi/Mithilkchhyar,Tibettan/Sherpa:Sambota,Tamang:Tamahing, Punjabi:Gurumukhi,Urdu:Arabi,Lepcha:Rong, Limbu:Sirijanga,Newari:Ranjana,Santha li/Gurung:Roman,Bangali:Bangla

10 Constitutional Provision(Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007)
Article 5. Language of the nation: (1) All the languages spoken as the mother tongue in Nepal are the national languages of Nepal. (2) The Nepali language in Devanagari script shall be the official language. (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in clause, it shall not be deemed to have hindered to use the mother tongue in local bodies and offices. The state shall translate the languages so used to an official working language and maintain record thereon.

11 Article 17. Education and Cultural Right:
(1) Each community shall have the right to get basic education in their mother tongue as provided for in the law. (2) Every citizen shall have the right to free education from the State up to secondary level as provided for in the law. (3) Each community residing in Nepal shall have the right to preserve and promote its language, script, culture, cultural civility and heritage.

12 National Languages Policy Recommendation Commission (1993)
A linguistic survey of Nepal should be done to identify and describe the languages of Nepal A Proper Language Planning should be started Special Programme should be started to preserve endangered languages of Nepal A council for national languages should be established The primary schools should be categorized as with 100% mother tongue speakers to teach in mother tongues Department of Linguistics should be established in the university to promote the study and research works Mother tongue should be allowed as an alternative to Sanskrit in Lower middle class

13 National Languages Policy Recommendation Commission (1993)
There should be special department of language at the Royal Nepal Academy and all the academic organizations working with the national languages should get recognition There should be a separate branch at CDC of HMG to deal with the matters of education in the mother tongue In order to make the linguistic data of CBS more reliable, linguist should also be included as experts

14 Existing Language/Educational Activities
The Workshop on Multilingual Education (February 1-3, 2008)  This residential workshop conducted by Tove Shutnabba-Kangas, an eminent author of Linguistic Genocide in Education – or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? The objective was to prepare the concept paper on multilingual education in Nepal.

15 Nepal Multilingual Education (MLE) Symposium
Sponsored by Ministry of Education and Sports, Tribhuvan University , UNESCO and SIL International(October 1-3, 2007) Kathmandu to address the various issues of MLE: The MLE Symposium recommended that multilingual education be implemented for the sake of children and their future with the Ministry of Education and Sports reaffirming its commitment to MLE.

16 Multilingual Education Implementation Guideline(MEIG) 2010
Levels Medium of instruction Further clarification Basic Pre-primary Local mother tongue For all subjects 1-3 For all subjects except Nepali and English 4-5 Bilingual(Mother tongue and language of official use) 6-8 Bilingual(Mother tongue and language of official use or other tongue) For all subjects except Nepali and English Non-Formal Education Literacy Post Literacy Local mother tongue or education contact language or both

17 Implementation of Mother Tongue as Medium of Instruction
Districts Language/s Schools Grades Sunsari Uraw and Tharu (Eastern) Sarada Primary School,Simariya 1-3 Jhapa Santhali and Rajbansi Rastriya Ekta Primary School,Kajali Dhankuta Athparia Rai Deurali Lower Secondary School,Sangtang Palpa Palpa Magar Nawa jagrit Primary School,Dhaireni Rasuwa Rasuwa Tamang 1.Saraswati Primary School,Thade 2.Bhimsen Primary School,Thulokharka Kanchanpur Rana(Tharu) Rastriya Primary School,Dekhtabhuli

18 Curriculum Development Centre (Production of textbooks )
SN LANGUAGES GRADES 1 2 3 4 5 Maithili, Bhojapuri, Awadhi, Tamang, Limbu, Bantawa Rai, Chamling Rai, Sherpa, Gurung, Magar, Newar, Tharu Sunuwar, Rajbanshi Yakkha Mugali Tharu (Mid-region) and Tamang ( in Sambota script) 1-5 1-4 1-3 1-2

19 Central Department of Linguistics/Linguistic Survey of Nepal(2008)
To produce a sociolinguistic profile including language and dialect mapping; To produce a basic description of at least ten languages; To develop and maintain a complete database of the languages of Nepal; To develop a description of the use of mother tongues in education (formal and non-formal); To publish the report of the major research activities in written and electronic versions

20 LinSuN Progress The pilot survey was conducted in Jhapa in the month of April, The research tools were revised with the help of feedbacks of the pilot survey. In 2009, Nepali (spoken mid and western hilly regions), Newar (spoken in the valley), Maithili, Chepang, Kirat-Rai and Bote languages were surveyed and data were entered in the database developed in the LinSuN. A series of workshops and training programs were organized to build the technical capacities of the research assistants, faculties of the department and the cluster heads of the survey

21 LinSuN Progress In 2010, Yakkha, Bhujel, Newar (spoken in Dolaka) and Nepali (spoken in eastern parts)were surveyed. A draft report on the use of languages and attitudes of seven languages, namely, Bhujel,Chepang, Bote, Newar, Yakkha, Lapcha and Maithili have been prepared.

22 LinSuN Progress 2011(Sociolinguistic Survey)
Kaike, Magar-Dhut,Jirel,Santhali,Bote 2011/2012 (Sociolinguistic Survey of Far-Western Development Region)- Byansi,Abadhi,Sona-Khona,Rana Tharu,Dotyali,Acchami,Dangora Tharu,Bajhangi,Bajureli,Raute & Raji 2012 (September)Mid-Western Development Region- Bhojpuri ,Awadhi ,Magar Kham ,Kumal ,Gurung ,Chantyal

23 Other Institutions on language Preservation and Development
UNESCO, Kathmandu SIL International, Nepal NFDIN(National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities) Linguistic Society of Nepal CERID (Research Center for Educational Innovation and Development),TU CDC( Curriculum Development Center) NCED (National Center for Education Development) NFEC (Non-Formal Education Center) Nepal Academy

24 Problems No reliable identification of the languages/dialects
Heterogeneous classes with divergent socio-linguistic situation No clear policy and coordination Political instability Construction of the effective tools & maintenance of database

25 Conclusion(suggestions/recommendations)
Linguistic Survey of Nepal should be completed Ethnographic documentation of all the minority languages Local based textbooks and reference materials Transitional bi/multilingual education should be strictly followed Government role and policy level implementation Establishment of Language Academy

26 References Bandhu,Churamani Preservation and promotion of the Linguistic Heritage of Nepal: Problems and prospects. Paper presented in the International Conference on Linguistic Heritage of India and Asia CIIL,Mysore,India Central Bureau of Statistics 2011 Kathmandu,CBS Interim Constitution of Nepal 2063 Kathmandu GoN Koul,Omkar & L Devaki (Ed.)2000 Linguistic Heritage of India and Asia.CIIL, Mysore National Languages Policy Recommendation Commission 1994 The Report of National languages Policy Recommendation Commission, Kathmandu,Ministry of Education and Culture LinSuN The proposal for the Linguistic Survey of Nepal (LinSuN) submitted to the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal by Central Department ofLinguistics, Tribhuvan University, 29 June, 2008 Regmi, Dan Raj Linguistic Survey of Nepal: Progress, challenges andprospect. A paper presented at 31st Annual conferences of Linguistic Society of Nepalheld in Kathmandu, November, 2010 Tuladhar, Nirmal Man ‘Multilingual Education in Nepal.’ A paper presented at the 17th Himalayan Languages Symposium held at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Kobe, 6 -9 September, 2011. Toba,Sueyoshi &Ingrid and Novel Kishore Rai 2005 Diversity and Endangerment of languages in Nepal.UNESCO Kathmandu series of Monographs and working papers No 7 UNESCO Language Survey Report Nepal 2002 Kathmandu Turin, Mark ‘Minority Language Policies in Nepal and the Himalayas. Position Paper for SCALLA 2004 Working Conference on Crossing the Digital Divide: Shaping Technologies to Meet Human Needs, 5-7 January, 2004, Kathmandu. UNESCO, Advocacy Kit for Promoting Multilingual Education: Including the Excluded (Policy Makers Booklet). Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok UNESCO, Advocacy Kit for Promoting Multilingual Education: Including the Excluded (Policy Makers Booklet). Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok Yogendra Yadava and Purnaman Shakya 2009 Language issues in Contemporary Nepal and Linguistic Inclusion Paper presented in CNAS/SNV/SIRF at a seminar on State restructuring:Linguistic Situation of Nepal and Inclusive language Policy, Kathmandu Yogendra Yadava and Shanta Bahadur Gurung 2006 The Indigeneous languages of Nepal (ILN): Situation and Policy and Recommendation,Kathmandu:NFDIN

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