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Rural failure in English learning and the socioeconomics of ELT. Over 24 million children learn English as a second/foreign language in primary and secondary schools in Bangladesh. These children start learning the language as a required subject in Grade 1 and continue learning it (if they don't drop out) until Grade 12, and later at the tertiary level. Officially, they are taught English communicatively using Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methodology, as it was envisaged that CLT would develop learners' ‘communicative competence’, and thereby strengthen the human resource development efforts of the Government of Bangladesh (NCTB, 2003). Nearly a decade has passed since CLT was first introduced in the national curriculum. It now seems appropriate to ask to what extent has it developed learners' competence and improved the declining standards of English in the country (Rahman, 1991).
This chapter briefly reviews the past and present and examines the possible future language situation for the group of polities in the area bounded by Southeast Asia to the west, Australia and New Zealand to the south and Melanesia and Polynesia to the north and east. Kaplan (1999) has indicated some of the difficulties in defining this as an entity as this is a diverse region of the world. A summary of some salient points of the current language situation for each polity in the region is provided in Table 14.1. A number of these polities are discussed in Baldauf and Luke (1990) and Kaplan and Baldauf (2002), while references to the language situation can be found in Kaplan and Baldauf (1997).
Pool and Fettes (1998) and Fettes (Chapter 3 of this volume) have suggested six broad possible ‘geostrategies of interlingualism’ that might characterise the development of languages in the future. We examine each of these in terms of their past and present impact on the region, before providing what we believe are likely future general language development trends.
Table 14.1 indicates that English is the dominant LWC (language of wider communication) in the region with fifteen of the twenty polities giving the language some official role (also see Kaplan 1987). This is not to say that these Englishes follow one standard. In fact, it can be argued that one of English's great strengths has been that it is pluricentric; no one ‘owns’ English.
Beginning with the framework established by Haugen (1983) as a basis for this review, corpus planning can be defined as those aspects of language planning which are primarily linguistic and hence internal to language. Some of these aspects related to language are: 1) orthographic innovation, including design, harmonization, change of script, and spelling reform; 2) pronunciation; 3) changes in language structure; 4) vocabulary expansion; 5) simplification of registers; 6) style, and 7) the preparation of language material (Bamgbose 1989). Jernudd (1988) provides a more detailed discussion of these linguistic aspects of language planning. Although the creation of these language related materials often requires intense linguistic activity, the focus of this review is not on linguistic description, but rather on historical and sociolinguistic studies which illuminate corpus planning processes. These processes can be divided into two categories: those related to the establishment of norms, and those related to the extension of the linguistic functions of language. In his revised model, Haugen labels the former category, Codification or standardization procedures, and the latter, Elaboration or the functional development of language. These categories form the two major sections for this review.
Over the last few years many statements have been made indicating that a variety of groups and organizations recognize and support multilingualism and multiculturalism in Australia. It is less clear at a policy level, however, how these ‘;ism’ can or should be maintained. Smolicz (1983) has argued in a variety of forums that language is a ‘core’ value for many cultural groups. If language is lost or destroyed, these cultures become de-activated and form sub-cultural variants on the majority culture.
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