Issue of English in Bangladesh: 2nd Language or Foreign Language


Mother tongue or initial language is perhaps the most favorite detail for any person. The issue of language has resulted into many conflicts and discontentment. The primary case in point of this sort of discontentment is the Language Motion of 1952 in Bangladesh. On the other hand we can not stay in isolation. We have to be in speak to with the speakers of other languages. Bangladesh is deemed to be a monolingual region in which much more than 98% of the populace is speakers of Bangla language. Having said that, there are extra than ten languages in such a modest country like Bangladesh. Monipuri, Urdu, Chakma, Santali, Garo, Rakhain, Tipra- are just some of the other languages existing in Bangladesh.

The attention-grabbing matter is that Urdu is a Indo-European language but created in Arabic script, Santali belongs to the Mono-Khemar language family while Chakma belongs to the Chinese-Barmese language team. So, whilst Bangladesh is generally portrayed as a region of linguistic unity centered on Bangla language in truth it has noteworthy linguistic diversity. To communicate with the speakers of other languages we both will need to know their language or connect in a Lingua-Franca that is comprehensible to both of those of us.

Today, the earth has turn out to be a world wide village. Many thanks to the improvement of communication program and technologies. Each country is dependent on other people for trade and commerce, instruction, politics and so forth. As a result, we have to consistently converse with other countries and speakers of other languages. Third environment nations like Bangladesh have to depend on foreign aid because they are not self-ample. As a final result, several foreigners occur to Bangladesh. A third factor is the aspect of faith. The sacred language of the Muslims is Arabic, Sanskrit for Hindus, Pali for the Buddhists and Latin for the Christians.

All these components remind us the requirement for mastering other language(s) in addition to our mother tongue. According to this actuality lots of nations of the globe have adopted a European language as 2nd language which is typically applied in instruction, law court, financial functions and governing administration works. These languages have most of the time official status in the constitution of these countries. A lot of of the conditions the nations around the world have adopted the language of their previous colonial rulers as the next language. In some cases these languages are also named formal language. In a lot of African nations around the world we can see this photograph. On the other hand, some European languages have turn out to be extremely essential in the globe for literary and financial uses. For illustration, German and French are thought of to be significant languages of the globe since both of them have influential literature and financial aspects related with them.

For case in point, many men and women in our nation are fascinated to study French simply because it may well help them to get UN jobs and work in Multinational companies. Yet another beautiful inspiration for learning French in Bangladesh is that it may aid us to immigrate to Canada as talent in French language presents a person some more points in the position program of Canadian immigration.

The title of my analysis is “Position of English in Bangladesh: Second language or international language?” I have selected this topic because from sociolinguistic stage of watch the standing of English is a incredibly fascinating a single. On the one hand English language is dominantly present in each individual aspect of our nationwide daily life even though on the other hand in our structure it is clearly declared that the language of the region is Bangla. In fact, nothing is stated about the position of English language in our structure. On just one hand, economic functions in the non-public providers are carried out in English when there is a federal government legislation (Bangla procholon ain1987) that federal government workplaces have to use Bangla in their official functions. So from the government position of look at Bangla is the nationwide- formal language of Bangladesh and English is the most essential foreign language. But in fact English is the next language of the country and in many destinations English is extra vital than Bangla in Bangladesh.

2nd language:

A next language is any language other than the initial, or native, language acquired it is usually utilized since of geographical or social reasons. The time period is to be distinguished from overseas language linguist Eric Lenneberg takes advantage of 2nd language in his essential time period speculation to imply a language consciously discovered or made use of by its speaker immediately after puberty. In most circumstances, folks never realize the same level of fluency and comprehension in their 2nd languages as in their initial language.

Historically in Europe, the most broadly applied 2nd language (or lingua franca) was Latin. It was employed by the Church by the Law (as it even now is today) in Medicine (beginning significantly later) Horticulture and biological classification of plants, animals, fruits, nuts, and so on.

Latin was utilized so significantly throughout Europe that it was called the vulgar (or common tongue) this is why the Latin variation of the Bible is known as the Vulgate.

Today, English is viewed as the world’s most popular 2nd language it is employed in spots as assorted as the online, tv and radio, and worldwide aviation.

The results of English through the planet stems from two major triggers: the far achieving affect of the British Empire, and the 20th century (and continuing) dominance of the United States in the fields of organization and enjoyment.

French was for a time the lingua franca (the origin of phrase) in Europe. In history, both equally England and France ended up dominated by a one crown – the language applied by the royal courtroom was French (English was considered “the peasant’s language”). Later on, as was the situation with English, the French empire spread its language via colonization. French proceeds to be 1 of the world’s most extensively spoken languages. (Resource: Wikipedia)

If we glimpse at the definition of 2nd language then we can conveniently say that English is the second language of Bangladesh. It is widely utilized in many areas of our national lifetime. Several persons watch English tv channels and also use Internet. The learners have to examine it for twelve many years and those people who want to join civil assistance by attending BCS test also have to sit for English assessment. The only matter that is missing from the above definition is the reality that other than for formal events no one particular speaks in English in Bangladesh. It is not the language made use of in property among family members users and among good friends in casual conversation.

International language:

A overseas language is a language not spoken by the indigenous folks of a specific location: for instance, English is a international language in Japan. It is also a language not spoken in the indigenous place of the man or woman referred to, i.e. an English speaker dwelling in Japan can say that Japanese is a foreign language to him or her.

Some little ones find out extra than a single language from delivery or from a extremely younger age: they are bilingual. These small children can be mentioned to have two mom tongues: neither language is foreign to that little one, even if one particular language is a international language for the huge vast majority of folks in the kid’s delivery state. For example, a child studying English from her English mother in Japan can converse equally English and Japanese, but neither is a overseas language to her. (Source- Wikipedia)

From the earlier mentioned definition, it is viewed that international language refers to a language that is not indigenous to a particular person. From this position of see English can be regarded as a overseas language in Bangladesh since it is not native in our region. Barely any Bangladeshi man or woman speaks in English although a lot of of them use it in education and learning and small business.

Formal language:

An formal language is some thing that is specified a distinctive standing in the nations, states, and other territories. It is normally the language utilised in a nation’s legislative bodies, however the regulation in several nations calls for that govt files be made in other languages as nicely.

Officially regarded minority languages are typically mistaken for official languages. On the other hand, a language officially recognized by a state, taught in educational facilities, and applied in formal interaction is not always an official language. For illustration, Ladin and Sardinian in Italy and Mirandese in Portugal are only officially recognized minority languages, not formal languages in the rigid feeling.

50 % of the nations in the globe have formal languages. Some have only a single formal language, these kinds of as Albania, France, or Lithuania, irrespective of the fact that in all these countries there are other indigenous languages spoken as very well. Some have a lot more than a single formal language, this kind of as Afghanistan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Eritrea, Finland, India, Paraguay, South Africa, and Switzerland.

In some nations around the world, this kind of as Iraq, Italy, Russia and Spain, there is an formal language for the region, but other languages are co-formal in some critical regions. Some nations, these as Australia, Sweden, Tuvalu, and the United States have no official languages.

The official languages of some former colonies, normally French or English, are not the national languages or the most widely spoken language.

In distinction, as a consequence of nationalism, Irish is the “nationwide language” of the Republic of Ireland and its initially formal language, even though it is spoken by only a compact fraction of its individuals. English, which is spoken by the the greater part, is described only as the 2nd formal language (Structure of Ireland, Report 8).

In some international locations, the challenge of which language is to be utilized in what context is a major political challenge.(Resource-Wikipedia)

From the above definition, it is seen that the idea of formal language is difficult. According to our structure English can not be termed as the official language of Bangladesh since it has no position in our structure. The only language that is mentioned in our structure is Bangla. But English is authorized in our parliament and a lot of federal government activities. For illustration, when there is a government occasion in which some foreigners show up at then in many circumstances the speakers use English language. Many vital authorities files are published each in Bangla and English. The parliament proceedings are retained into these two languages. When a authorities entire body organizes a good then frequently the memento is printed in English.


About the language of the place the Bangladeshi structure clearly states:

“The point out language.

The condition language of the Republic is [Bangla].”

(Resource: [].)

In the constitution very little is pointed out about the status of English. English is not stated as a next language or official language. So if we get the status of English in our structure then we can’t assert that English is a 2nd language or Formal Language in Bangladesh.

English in Regulation courtroom in Bangladesh:

Immediately after Independence the authorities took the initiative to employ Bangla language in regulation court. As a result, now the reduce courts carry out their pursuits in Bangla but English is still pretty influential in Substantial Court docket and Supreme Courtroom. If a law firm wants to exercise in Supreme courtroom then he ought to have a excellent command in excess of English language. Several of the judges however give their verdicts in English language. It would seem that this pattern of utilizing English will remain for the forcible long run.

English in Instruction sector in Bangladesh:

Official and institutionalized instruction procedure begun in Bangladesh throughout the British rule. At that time Bangladesh was component of British India. There was a discussion about the medium of training. Raja Rammohan Roy argued that the medium need to be English instead than Sanskrit or Persian. For the duration of the British interval the medium of instruction was largely in English. Calcutta University took an initiative in 1935 to introduce Bangla as a medium of education and learning together with English. In Bangladesh the use of Bangla in faculty degree started in the 1960s. Now students can answer in the exams in Bangla or English. In the college or university amount and university degree just after 1971 the federal government attempted to patronize Bangla and implement it by replacing English in the instruction sector but this did not came into fact due to the fact of some essential issues. The to start with trouble is that there had been not plenty of publications of any discipline in Bangla language. This challenge is much more acute in science and engineering. For example, there are almost no textbooks in Bangla about computer technologies that can be made use of as a reference book in the University degree.

Basically there are three types of training techniques in our country- Bangla medium, English medium, and Madrasa system. Bangla medium schools can be divided into two sections- governing administration universities, and kindergarten educational facilities. In the kindergarten educational institutions more emphasis is offered on English language than government educational institutions. Some of the renowned kindergarten schools of Dhaka are Vikarounnesa, Holycross, Willes Minor Flower, and so on. Though these educational institutions belong to Bangla medium the students have to study 3-4 English guides like: Radiant Way, Active English, Desk Do the job, Elementary English, Brighter Grammar, and so on. On the other hand in the govt faculties there is mainly just one English e book (English for Currently) which is published by Bangladesh Textual content E book Board. The English medium educational facilities do not stick to Bangladeshi education and learning process and are below the supervision of British Council. The medium of instruction in these educational institutions is English and a lot of of the learners of English medium are even very weak in Bangla language. There are two varieties of Madrassas – Dakhil and Kawmi. The Kawmi Madrassas are not acknowledged by the govt and do not acquire any aid from the government. In this Madrassas emphasis is provided on finding out Arabic, Persian, and Urdu though Bangla and English are neglected. On the other hand in Dakhil Madrassas emphasis is generally offered on Arabic and Bangla and English are not so much neglected.

So we can obviously see that the variance in schooling process in Bangladesh is exclusively dependent on the variance in the medium of education. Even though Bangla is the Countrywide-Official language of Bangladesh it is the English medium training institutes who get additional cash. The increase of private universities has only improved the standing and worth of English language in Bangladesh. There are now much more than 50 personal Universities in Bangladesh and the medium of education and learning in all of them is English. These universities charge 2 lakh to 5 lakh taka for Bachelor class. If the medium of schooling was in Bangla then rarely any pupil or dad and mom would get intrigued to pay out this sort of big income for the education and learning in personal universities.

From the higher than discussion it is clear that in our typical training program English has equivalent if not much more value than Bangla. In our education procedure English is actually the Second language as all the learners have to analyze it as a obligatory topic for twelve yrs.

English and Administration:

During the language motion the men and women of Bangladesh have been concerned that if Urdu was proven as the Condition Language of Pakistan then all the authorities routines will be carried out in Urdu and our folks will suffer. As a outcome of the language movement, the Pakistani Routine stored on carrying out government pursuits in English language. After Bangladesh turned unbiased the federal government of Awami League resolved to substitute English with Bangla in administrative works but immediately after the dying of Sheikh Mujib this system came to a halt and English continued to stay as the dominant language. It was during the rule of Ershad Bangla Procholon Aeen of 1987 was created and implemented. From that time English started to reduce its importance in administration. Even so, it has to be pointed out that all the intercontinental interaction of Bangladesh authorities is carried out by way of English.

English in Financial functions:

The financial state of Bangladesh is dependent on overseas aids and export of some typical things like prepared manufactured clothes, jute, tea, fish etc and also we import a good deal of issues. Bangladesh is not self adequate economically. Trading is far more well-known than generation. Buying and selling requires continuous communication with overseas providers. Lots of of the companies who are concerned in investing have to use English in dealing with foreigners. Suppose, a business is carrying out investing with China which is not an English talking country. Then the organization has to speak to the Chinese enterprise in English. If we seem at the advertisements of the personal sector positions then we can effortlessly see that most of the occupation ads are posted in English. Even most of the non-public sector occupation ads that are posted in Bengali newspapers are posted in English. Practically all the non-public jobs point out that the candidates have to have great proficiency in English language. Pretty much all the public restricted providers publish their annual reviews in English. Some of these firms deliver a Bangla model of their annual report but the emphasis is often on English. So it is crystal clear that English is the dominant language in our financial things to do.

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

Arabic, Sanskrit and Pali are the religious languages of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists respectively. Even the uneducated people attempt to study these languages as they are deemed to be holy. If we review the learning of English with these languages then we can see that English is offered additional great importance. For illustration, the tuition rate of a English coaching center is a lot bigger than that of an Arabic coaching centre. English personal tutors get 4-5 occasions far more revenue than Arabic non-public tutors (Huzur). So even though Arabic has religious sentiment attached to it English is viewed as to be a lot more essential as it has economic reward.

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

French and German have come to be quite preferred for financial motives in our country. Learning these languages enable us to raise our likelihood to get a UN position. Discovering French is also helpful for acquiring immigration to Canada. Also there are great services to master these languages in Dhaka College, Alliance Francaise, and Goethe Institute. Just lately, the English Institute of North South College has introduced French study course. On the other hand for the duration of the Muslim reign Farsi was the language of the Royal administration and law courtroom in Bangladesh. At current, a student can attend Farsi study course for a single semester by just spending tk. 250 in Iran Cultural Heart but there are not a lot of college students who are intrigued to discover Farsi, French, and German. On the other hand, hundreds of college students each calendar year appear for TOEFL and IELTS tests in English language.

From the previously mentioned photo it is obvious that the status of English is considerably better than overseas languages like German, French, and Farsi. We can not deny the actuality that if a individual is great at English then he can make funds in any part of Bangladesh but if a individual is very good at French, German, or Farsi he has rarely any scope to earn cash by working with his techniques in these languages.


From the dialogue so far there is no doubt that English is the second language of Bangladesh but this actuality is not mirrored in our constitution. Formally Bangladesh is not identified as an ESL country to the outdoors world. So Bangladesh should be declared as an ESL place by the authorities devoid of any hold off. We learn English not for the reason that we like Shakespeare or Dickens. We learn English from out of each day requirement. If Bangladesh is declared as an ESL nation and English language is supplied a very clear status in the structure then it will not only mirror the reality but also it will enable us internationally. Now Bangladesh is desperately attempting to appeal to foreign buyers. In advance of any business arrives to Bangladesh for checking out the investment decision prospects just one of the vital spots they would glance for is the availability of pool of English graduates and they also count on that the standard personnel will have standard knowledge of English language. If we become an ESL country then these foreign businesses when exploring about Bangladesh will get assured about the potent presence of English language in this region.

The very same image is there about educational sector. Lots of Bangladeshi students want to go to developed nations around the world like United states of america, United kingdom , Canada, and Australia for higher education and learning. If Bangladesh is declared as an ESL place then these students will be benefited due to the fact then the Universities of those nations around the world will get the plan that English has distinctive importance in Bangladesh.

So I advocate to the government of Bangladesh that English should be declared as the second language of the country by amending the constitution.


Bangladesh is the only nation in the entire world whose folks sacrificed their lives for the language. Now the historical language movement of 1952 is acknowledged internationally as the International Mom Language Working day. It is accurate that our people today are emotional about their language, Bangla. Nevertheless, it is equally legitimate that now our individuals have turn out to be determined about acquiring expert in English language. As a result, there are a lot more than fifty private universities now in Bangladesh. If North South Offered BBA and Computer Science classes in Bangla medium then they would not get even 10% of the number of pupils they have now. It is now superior time that we finish the great contradiction about the language concern and declare Bangladesh as an ESL nation for our personal reward.


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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