LANGUAGE USE IN THAILAND: A COMPARATIVE STUDY TO THE CASE OF BHUTAN Namgay Thinley March 2002 CONTENTS ABSTRACT iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv ____________________________________________________________ ________ 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Statement of the problem Purpose of the study 2.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 2 Introduction Background information on language use in Thailand Language situation Standard Thai The present status of Thai Background information on language use in Bhutan Language situation Dzongkha The present status of Dzongkha Einer Haugen’s fourfold model of the stages in language planning Introduction Definition Selection Codification Implementation Elaboration 3. FIELD STUDY Methodology The sample Procedure 4. RESULTS Presentation Background information Language choice and attitude Language use Findings Thailand Bhutan 5.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS APPENDIXES Appendix 1: Questionnaire REFERENCES 9 10 17 19 23 ii ABSTRACT Language use in Thailand and Bhutan presents two different scenes. In Thailand, the national language, Standard Thai, is the majority language used in every domain. In Bhutan, the national language, Dzongkha, is the lingua franca for the country, but there is a recent trend toward using English as widely as Dzongkha, and usage of English in every domain is on the rise. Standard Thai usage is firmly rooted in Thai society through its prevalence in education, internal administration, the media, and ublications. Dzongkha, on the other hand, is less often used by Bhutanese than Thai is used by Thais. At the same time, English is gaining popularity in Bhutan. This paper provides a study of the reasons for this difference in language use of Standard Thai in Thailand and Dzongkha in Bhutan. This paper is broadly divided into two parts: a literature review and a field study. The literature review describes the current status of use of Standard Thai and Dzongkha and then uses Einer Haugen’s fourfold model of language planning as a framework within which to compare the differences in language use and development.
The field study is undertaken to verify the information revealed in the literature review and also to investigate the differences in language use in both countries and the choices and attitudes that the people of Thailand and Bhutan harbor toward their respective languages. The findings from the literature review and the field study are combined in the conclusion and a recommendation is made for possible actions to be undertaken to further the use of Dzongkha in Bhutan, taking into account the knowledge gained regarding the successful use of Standard Thai in Thailand. ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research was undertaken in partial fulfillment of the research methodology course I took at Thammasat University in Bangkok over a period of three months, from 20 December 2001 to 19 March 2002. The successful outcome of this paper has been possible through the gracious overall guidance of Dr. Deeyu Srinarawat (Chair, Department of Linguistics); advice on reference books and materials by Dr. Boonruang Chunsuvimol; practical help and the editing of this paper at every stage by Miss Leah M.
Bateman; The office I work in, the Dzongkha Development Commission, through the Dzongkha Development Project, for granting me this opportunity to take the course; and the Linguistics Department of Thammasat University for providing me with this course, including special help by giving instructions in English and without charging tuition fees. I would also like to thank the respondents, undergraduate students from different faculties in Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, and Sherubtse College in Tashigang, Bhutan, for helping me by instantly answering the questionnaire. v ____________________________________________________________ ______ 1. INTRODUCTION Statement of the problem There is an obvious difference between the way Standard Thai is used in Thailand and the way Dzongkha is used in Bhutan (particularly in the context of formal situations such as meetings and official letters). This difference seems to be linked to the attitudes that the people of Thailand and Bhutan hold toward their respective national languages—attitudes that may be linked to the way the speakers experience language use in education, the media, and so on.
This paper attempts to identify the variables that contribute to this difference in usage. Purpose of the study This study first surveys the literature on language use in Thailand and Bhutan, and then distinguishes the various areas of the study by using Einer Haugen? s model of language planning. The study next investigates the following areas: 1. The choices and attitudes of Thais to Standard Thai and English, and similarly the choices and attitudes of Bhutanese to Dzongkha and English. 2. The language use of Standard Thai and English, and of Dzongkha and English.
Finally, it suggests ways in which these findings can be used to improve the situation of the national language in Bhutan. 1 ____________________________________________________________ ______ 2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction This section surveys the literature relevant to language use in Thailand and Bhutan. It is divided into three subsections. The first two subsections describe language use in Thailand and Bhutan, respectively. There is a special focus on policy issues and the effect these issues have had on their respective societies. The third subsection introduces Einer Haugen? fourfold model of language planning and compares the situation of each of the four stages of the model in both countries, based on the information available. Background information on language use in Thailand Language situation In Thailand, Standard Thai is the national or official language. Standard Thai serves the whole nation and has had a unifying effect. People view it with a sense of loyalty and pride. Like other countries, Thailand also has other native or regional languages. These other languages include Chinese, Malay, Khmer and other minority groups in descending proportion of the number of speakers (Senawong 1989; Nokaeo 1989).
Standard Thai Standard Thai is the dominant language in use in Thailand. Standard Thai in actuality is not the native language for the majority. It is the native language of the upper classes and of speakers of some regional forms of Thai. Non-native speakers learn Standard Thai in school. Depending upon the year of schooling, a speaker? s command of Standard Thai, both spoken and written, varies from full command to just adequate for the speaker? s uses (Smalley 1994). The present status of Standard Thai There seems to be no evidence of any official policy or specific declaration about language use in Thailand.
But evidence indicates that Central Thai, on which Standard Thai is based, is considered the official language for education, government administration, the mass media, and literature (Nokaeo 1989). Some specific points support this view. Firstly, the strongest and most evident point is the use of Standard Thai in the educational system. To promote uniformity, unity, security and identity, Thai is the medium of instruction throughout the country (Nokaeo 1989; Senawong 1989; Smalley 1994). The Thai educational system observes only two categories: Thai and “foreign languages”.
The most popular foreign language studied is the English language. But even English is restricted to a single subject, and the remaining school subjects are taught in Thai. As Smalley (1994) notes, All schools at lower levels must follow a uniform official curriculum which allows limited flexibility for private schools to make some adaptations…In any case, one of the express purposes of education in Thailand is to teach all Thai children to use Standard Thai and another is to study some English. 2 English is also studied with various motives depending on the time period.
In earlier times, only the royal and a few elite people learned English for security reasons and to know more about the west, but now it is learned by the majority for its prestige as an international language and accompanying benefits, directly or indirectly, of knowledge, affluence and modernity (Senawong 1989; Smalley 1994). But still here Standard Thai is very strong, as Smalley observes: “the more education spreads, develops and deepens, the more universal a good knowledge of Standard Thai is becoming throughout the country. ” This is more obvious as the literacy of Thai population stood at 84 % (Nokaeo 1989).
Moreover, the other ethnic groups are also assimilated into the mainstream after some generations. For example, the present generations of Chinese and Malays in Thailand are more assimilated into the mainstream than their first generation immigrant parents (Srinarawat 1988; Senawong 1989; Nokaeo 1989). Secondly, Standard Thai is the language of internal administration and the media. The reason here also parallels and has relations overlapping the educational goals—namely, the fear of outside cultural influence and the need for language purity.
In the domain of the media, an observed instance is in trade and commerce. Senawong observes: The Sign Tax Act imposes different tax rates on signs bearing the name of the establishment. Signs with Thai lettering mixed with “foreign” marks or lettering are taxed at a rate ten times higher than signs with only Thai lettering. At the same time, the tax rate for signs without Thai lettering is twenty times higher than those with only Thai lettering (Sign Tax Act 1967). The government exercises its authority over the media through the Board of Radio and Television Administration, Department of Public Relations.
Foreign languages can only be broadcast in certain contexts. They are only allowed in the original sound track of films or of news releases. Advertisements of all kinds must be presented in Thai. Only the name of the product, the company, and the country of production can be given in a foreign language (Regulations Concerning Radio and Television Broadcasting 1975, 1978). In addition, there is also an authority body that sets the norm, which is then reinforced by the government. The highest authority is the Royal
Institute, which compiles dictionaries and coins new technological terms. There have also been efforts to maintain language purity. Purity, in one sense, refers to the abstinence of the use of foreign words, which implies that mixing is not tolerated in utterances (Senawong 1989). Publications are a third area where the Thai language is widely used. The majority of publications, from widely circulating newspapers and magazines in the marketplaces to literary works like history, poetry and biographies, are written in Thai (Smalley 1994).
Background information on language use in Bhutan Language situation In Bhutan, Dzongkha is the national language. It serves as the lingua franca throughout the country. Dzongkha is the native language of western Bhutan and its speakers are spread over a total of eight districts. Including Dzongkha, there are eighteen languages in Bhutan that belong to the Tibeto-Burman group. The only non-Tibeto-Burman language in Bhutan, Lhotshamkha (Nepali), belongs to the Indo-Aryan group. Lhotshamkha is the commonly spoken language of the Bhutanese residing in the southern belts of the country (Van Driem 1998). Dzongkha Dzongkha has enjoyed the position of being Bhutan? s lingua franca from very early times. Some documentary evidence of vernacularization has been located in the Punakha Dzong written as early as in the seventeenth century. The very term Dzongkha means “language of the fortress”. The many fortresses overlooking valleys in many of the districts in Bhutan were, in the past, the seats of power, political as well as spiritual. The language used for communication in these fortresses is Dzongkha. But the name Dzongkha can have several interpretations.
In one sense, it refers to the written form, which has been largely influenced by the literary language Choke, a source of vocabulary for Dzongkha. In another, it refers to the language spoken in formal situations by high ranking officials and the people. In still another, it is the native language spoken by the natives of western Bhutan (Van Driem 1994). The present status of Dzongkha Dzongkha is still the lingua franca of Bhutan, but recent trends show that it is not as popular as it used to be. English has, on the other hand, gained a dominant position in Bhutan.
A look at the various situational uses will be more reflective of the issue. Dzongkha is still commonly spoken by most people, widely used in the court, in religious and related institutions, and in the National Assembly. But the scene is different when the use of language is considered in areas like education, media, government agencies, communications, and publications. Each of these areas is considered here in turn. Dzongkha is declared to be the national language of Bhutan, but there are no restrictions of any nature on the use of other languages.
Moreover, as more Bhutanese are educated both outside and within the country, the use of English has surpassed even that of the national language. In almost all of the government agencies, with few exceptions, all official work is conducted in English. Sometimes, depending upon the situation, workers may switch from English to Dzongkha. The use of Dzongkha is often restricted to, formal or informal, letters sent to a recipient which only knows Dzongkha or demands it in Dzongkha like the monastic bodies, High Court, etc. Most documents, from normal correspondence that goes out from an office to file records, are kept in English.
Most meetings, from those at the office level to larger annual meetings, are conducted in English. It is not surprising that in almost every kind of meeting there is code switching between Dzongkha and English. In the education sector, the medium of instruction is Dzongkha and English. But English is dominant compared to Dzongkha. The majority of the subjects are taught in English and Dzongkha is limited to just one subject where some basics in grammar, literature such as Buddhist philosophies, and general writing are taught.
This is due to considerations such as lack of learning materials in Dzongkha. Outside of the school system, Dzongkha, along with the literary language Choke, is taught only in monastic institutions (dzongs, monasteries, nunneries), the Institute of Language and Cultural Studies, and an honors degree program in the only college in Bhutan. Enrollment in these programs is low. In contrast, enrollment in English-medium programs in schools throughout the country, from the “community school” level to the only college, is large and constantly increasing.
This indicates that English is gaining popularity and seems destined to become even more popular in future. The media in Bhutan is comprised mainly of radio broadcasting, television, the press, motion pictures, advertising, and popular music. These are important in determining language choice 4 due to their wide public utilization. A great concern is the effect at large of the media on language choice. An examination of languages used in the media shows that English is dominant in some areas of the media, while Dzongkha dominates others.
The daily radio broadcast is made in four languages—namely, Dzongkha, English, Tshangla, and Lhotshamkha—by the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS), the only broadcasting service in the country. Bhutan, after starting to allow TV broadcasts in 1999, began to air a single news channel hosted by the BBS; the dominant languages used are Dzongkha and English. In addition to the short news reports every day by the BBS, a large number (more than thirty) of other channels, mainly English and Indian, have become available, running shows for twentyfour hours a day.
Dzongkha is the dominant language in popular music and motion pictures produced within Bhutan, although other languages, such as Tshangla, are sometimes used. Here too, outside influences are evident in terms of the great amount of popular music and motion pictures produced in English and Hindi. Advertising is rare except in the weekly newspaper and in TV broadcasts, and English is the most often used language here. Bhutan publishes a weekly national newspaper, called the Kuensel, in three languages: Dzongkha, English, and Lhotshamkha (Nepali).
In addition to the Kuensel, varieties of Indian English newspapers flood the bookshops, as well as all sorts of magazines and books that are mainly in English. Only a few books are published in Dzongkha, and these are hardly looked at, although some bookshops sell books on Buddhist precepts and literatures exclusively. The communications infrastructure is composed of the postal service, telephone systems, and electronic networks. Although language use in the postal and telephone systems is hard to determine, some observation of the lettering of addresses on envelopes shows that English is widely used.
In telephone conversations, observation reveals that the language used depends on the person on the other side of the line, which in most cases will be another Bhutanese, so the language is usually the speaker? s mother tongue, or Dzongkha, or Dzongkha code-mixed with English, which is more common with educated people who have the greatest access to such facilities. As concerns electronic networks, mainly the Internet, the language used is almost exclusively English. This is partly due to the lack of software in Dzongkha capable of being used with the Windows operating system to handle the Internet and other similar networking activities.
The Dzongkha software programs used in various offices, the High Court, the National Library, the Kuensel, and the DDC are all different, and all have limitations of use. Presently, the Dzongkha Development Commission (DDC) is in the process of developing fonts and other software for incorporating Dzongkha into the Microsoft Windows operating system, after which there may be a trend towards increased use of Dzongkha in networking. Internet usage is gaining popularity in Bhutan; most government ministries, autonomous organizations, corporations, and private firms—mainly tourist and travel agents—are opening their own websites in English.
The situation in Bhutan is quite different from the situation in Thailand. In Thailand, with a few exceptions here and there, the language used to impart education and in the media, press, and communication activities, is purely Thai, as opposed to the mixture of languages in Bhutan. It is indeed very interesting and intriguing that a country with a population of more than sixty million is harmoniously united in the use of a single language. More interesting 5 than that is the question of how this situation has been achieved.
Certainly the acceptance of a single Thai language as the national and official language has a forceful effect on language choice. The Thai language seems to dominate the majority of the Thai people? s life, from childhood in primary school to adulthood in the workplace. Einer Haugen’s fourfold model of the stages in language planning Introduction The previous section highlights the difference in language use in Thailand and Bhutan, and evaluates some policies and their effects on language use and attitudes to language.
It is obvious that there are differences in many areas of language use. The concern here is to see the problems affecting the use of the national language in Bhutan, as compared to Thailand, and then suggest what could be done to improve the situation. This solution need not be totally similar to the language use in Thailand; however, the areas that may need greater attention in terms of language use in Bhutan can be determined from the success of Standard Thai use in Thailand. But these areas may be hard to differentiate without some clear demarcation of the problem in hand.
So far, “language planning”, as it is referred to in sociolinguistics, provides the theoretical basis for considering the situation. One of the first proponents of language planning was Einer Haugen. Haugen? s model of language planning, which is widely recognized in the area of language planning, provides clues to this issue and is therefore discussed below to determine its relevance for language use. Definition In his first paper in 1966, and also in 1983, Einer Haugen proposed a model of language planning in four stages.
This model of language planning has four components, which Haugen refers to as the classic form, and he claims that “they are the starting points, since they say nothing about the end points, the goal to be reached, or the ideals and motivation that guide planners. ” The four stages in Haugen? s model are (1) selection of the norm; (2) codification of the norm; (3) implementation of function; and (4) elaboration of function. The first two deal with the norm and the last two with functions.
Haugen mentions that (1) and (3) are societal in nature, meaning external to the language, and (2) and (4) are linguistic in nature, meaning internal to the language. Thus he puts it in a table as below: Form (policy planning) (1) Selection (decision procedures) a. identification of problem b. allocation of norms (2) Codification (standardization procedures) a. graphization b. grammatication c. lexication Function (language cultivation) (3) Implementation (educational spread) a. correction procedures b. evaluation (4) Elaboration (functional development) a. erminological modernization b. stylistic development Society (status planning) Language (corpus planning) This fourfold model, as he describes it, show a certain logical succession. Let us look at each stage, considering the situation in Thailand and Bhutan at the same time. 6 Selection Selection comes in when there is a language problem. When there is a conflict present as to choosing a language, there comes the need to assign status. Status usually seems to be decided by some kind of majority consensus or imposed by an authority or authoritative body.
Because of the involvement of the society and its leaders, it is seen as a form of policy planning, where a single or whole language in a country shall be given a status. This is normally the official or national language status. The recognition of Standard Thai as the national language of Thailand and Dzongkha as the national language of Bhutan can be considered as the first stage of Haugen? s model— selection. In both countries, the question of selection has been settled but there are differences in terms of the nature of enforcement.
In Thailand, Standard Thai is the single language in use in almost all important places. It is the medium of instruction in education, the language of internal administration, and the language of the media. However, in Bhutan, a more lenient approach is taken. In education, the majority of instruction is carried out in English. Internal administration is conducted both in English and Dzongkha, but the majority of government workers prefer English. This is also true of the media. Some of the reasons for this will be touched upon later, in the discussion of implementation and elaboration.
Codification This refers to the written part of a language. Like selection, codification is part of policy planning, as they both deal with what Haugen refers to as the linguistic “form”. In this state, the important things that are determined are the orthography, grammar, and dictionaries. These three issues are also settled in both Thailand and Bhutan. Both Standard Thai and Dzongkha have a standardized orthography. The work related to grammars and dictionaries in Thailand is carried out by the Royal Institute, which also settles any conflicts related to these areas.
The counterpart in Bhutan is the DDC. After its establishment in 1989, the DDC has dealt with all issues related to language: orthography, grammar, and dictionaries. The DDC has produced both a grammar and a dictionary in Dzongkha and is working on compiling other bilingual dictionaries. It also works on developing curriculums for schools, coordinating linguistic surveys, translation, and others. Here it is important to note Haugen? s point that “selection and codification remain mere paper exercises unless they are followed by implementation and elaboration work”, which we will look at now.
Implementation Haugen says that the stage of implementation …includes the activity of a writer, an institution, a government in adopting and attempting to spread the language form that has been selected and codified… by producing books, pamphlets, newspapers, and textbooks in the language. Those who have authority over schools or over mass media like radio and television introduce it as a medium of instruction and entertainment or at least as a subject to be taught. Laws and regulations are promulgated to encourage or discourage its use.
As long as a small, elite group has a monopoly on education, it is relatively simple to implement a given norm. But the spread of schooling to entire populations in modern times has made the implementation of norms a major educational issue. Nation-states are not 7 necessarily chosen for their linguistic homogeneity… The range of heterogeneity from an Iceland to Nigeria is vast and disturbing. Each nation faces problems of its own. Thus implementation could make a great difference in actual language use.
How much language promotion is done is practical work. Comparing Thailand and Bhutan in terms of implementation, Bhutan has just started digging the soil, while Thailand is already eating the fruit of its trees. For example, documents of all types in Thai, from newspapers to important works of literature, are now widely available for public consumption in Thailand (Smalley, 1994). Although Bhutan has a vast amount of literature, much of it is in the classical language, Choke, and needs to be translated into Dzongkha.
Oral literature needs to be written down, printed, and distributed along with other important works, as Haugen has pointed out. The DDC has achieved a lot within its first decade of existence; however, there is still much work to be done, some of which is already in the pipeline, as seen in the case of the dictionary work that is in progress. Elaboration Language has to function to meet the needs of its people. These functions can be achieved through further implementation of the norm.
A language needs to perform national and international functions and these functions can be attained by the language? s capability of inventiveness. This inventiveness had been seen in the major European languages, and Thai has also found a way to achieve it. Haugen puts this as, A modern language of high culture needs a terminology for all the intellectual and humanistic disciplines, including the underworld that runs from low to popular… (elaboration includes) also „the extension of linguistic function into the realm of imaginative and emotional experience?.
Haugen illustrates this stage by using the example of Sweden, which, through its Swedish Language Committee, elaborated the language by the publication of a series of brochures on spelling rules, pronunciation, place names, “right and wrong in language”, a guide to the dictionary of the Swedish Academy, word formation, … transliterating Russian, the language of the mass media, bureaucratic gobbledy-gook, technical language, family names, medical terms, and descriptions of several urban dialects. Standard Thai fares much better than Dzongkha in this respect, as well.
Thai has touched every subject in the intellectual and humanistic disciplines in terms of terminological development and related issues, without which a modern education with all the subject varieties can never be taught without sufficient vocabulary like that of English. But Dzongkha is still in the very early stages of elaboration. This is why there is a need to use English as the medium of education in Bhutan—because adequate materials written in Dzongkha are still lacking. 8 ____________________________________________________________ ______ 3.
FIELD STUDY Methodology A field investigation was undertaken in order to find out the differences in usage and attitudes of the Thai and Bhutanese people towards their respective national languages. The various uses of a language in the public sphere play a determining role in the choice of a language by an individual. Thus, the field investigation looks into language use in education, the media, and official arenas by using a questionnaire to gather data. The data are then converted into percentage figures and tabulated. Tabulated figures are also supported with a bar graph.
The sample The sample used in the study is confined to university undergraduates. The group consists of a mixture of students from different faculties—that is, the group was accidentally chosen from various faculties. Whether the majority of subjects is taught in Thai or in English depends on the programs in each faculty. A total of forty-four undergraduates from Thailand and forty undergraduates from Bhutan participated in the study. Procedure The questionnaire was distributed to the subjects by face-to-face distribution (with the help of an assistant in Bhutan who distributed and collected the questionnaire and collated the data).
The questionnaire consisted of three parts: (1) a section on the respondents? background information in order to get a picture of the respondents and their education and proficiency in the national language; (2) a section on their language choice and attitudes, in order to determine their language choice and reasons for learning their chosen language; (3) a section on language use, in order to determine their usage in different domains that reflect the importance accorded to the language in the society.
Each question in the questionnaire was followed by a list of answers from which the respondents could choose; in a few cases, the respondents were asked to rank the answers. This method maintained the consistency of the respondents? answers and at the same time got the required information. After the questionnaires were returned, the data were put into tabular form. Then the responses to each question by the various respondents were added together at the end. The answers to some questions that needed ranked choices were also added rank-wise. Finally, the answer with the majority responses was noted. ____________________________________________________________ ______ 4. RESULTS Presentation Background information Thailand Forty-four undergraduates from Thailand responded to the questionnaire. The results showed that all of them are native speakers of Thai. They rate their proficiency in the Thai language as being at native speaker level, the highest possible rank, and the average respondent rated his or her English language proficiency as merely good or fair (the third and fourth ranks, out of a total of five possible ranks). See Table 1 for details.
These results are substantiated by their responses to questions on their skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in Thai and English. All of them were very comfortable (the highest ranking) with the Thai language, while with the English language, they were merely comfortable and neutral, the second and third rankings from a total of five possible ranks. Table 1. Self-ranking of proficiency in national language & English by respondents in Thailand and Bhutan THAILAND Proficiency Std. Thai English % No. % No. 1. Native 61. 4 27 9. 1 4 2. Very Good 22. 7 10 11. 4 5 3. Good 9. 1 4 45. 4 20 4. Fair 6. 8 3 27. 3 12 5. Poor 0. 0 0 6. 3 TOTAL 100 44 100 44 BHUTAN Dzongkha % No. 15. 0 6 25. 0 10 37. 5 15 15. 0 6 7. 5 3 100 40 English % No. 0. 0 0 7. 5 3 52. 5 21 30. 0 12 10. 0 4 100 40 Bhutan 60 Thailand 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Thai English 9. 1 6. 8 0 0 Dzongkha 27. 3 22. 7 11. 4 9. 1 45. 4 Native Very Good Good Fair Poor 6. 8 30 20 10 15 25 15 7. 5 61. 4 50 40 37. 5 52. 5 Native 30 Very Good Good Fair 7. 5 0 English 10 Poor 10 Bhutan Forty undergraduates in Bhutan responded to the questionnaire. The results showed that onethird of them were native speakers of Dzongkha. This is because students from different regions, with different native languages, come to the college.
The majority of the respondents rate their proficiency in Dzongkha and English as merely good—that is, both languages were rated as being on an equal footing in terms of the respondents? proficiency (Table 1). They rated their skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in Dzongkha and English as “comfortable” (the second rank out of five possible ranks). Language choice and attitude Thailand Language choice and attitude was considered to be an important factor for language use. The questionnaire therefore contained questions on the respondents? motivations to learn Thai and English.
The majority of the respondents answered that their main motivation to learn Thai was for use in their daily life, while English was considered important for getting a job and rising in life. Questions on their use of languages in formal and informal gatherings were also asked. In formal gatherings, like meetings, seminars, etc. , and informal gatherings, like with friends on the street, 90% of the respondents said that they use Thai because they feel more comfortable using Thai than any other language. The questionnaire also contained questions about how the respondents? wn choice of language is affected by the language used in education, the media, publications, conversations around them, and formal gatherings. The majority of the respondents answered that the language used in education and the language spoken around them had the strongest affect on their language choice, while the language used in the media, publications and formal gatherings had some influence on their language choice (Table 2). Table 2. The effects of education, the media, publications, language spoken around the respondent, and formal use on language choice in Thailand and Bhutan in percentages
THAILAND Education % No. Strong influence 56. 8 25 Some influence 40. 9 18 Very little influence 2. 3 1 No influence 0. 0 0 TOTAL 100 44 The Media % No. 25. 0 11 52. 3 23 22. 7 10 0. 0 0 100 44 Publications % No. 15. 9 7 68. 2 30 15. 9 7 0. 0 0 100 44 Spoken Lg % No. 50. 0 22 31. 8 14 13. 6 6 4. 6 2 100 44 Formal Use % No. 29. 5 13 45. 5 20 25. 0 11 0. 0 0 100 44 11 BHUTAN Education % No. Strong influence 72. 5 29 Some influence 20. 0 8 Very little influence 7. 5 3 No influence 0. 0 0 TOTAL 100 40 The Media % No. 27. 5 11 65. 0 26 5. 0 2 2. 5 1 100 40 Publications % No. 52. 21 35. 0 14 10. 0 4 2. 5 1 100 40 Spoken Lg. % No. 75. 0 30 10. 0 4 15. 0 6 0. 0 0 100 40 Formal Use % No. 45. 0 18 50. 0 20 2. 5 1 2. 5 1 100 40 Thailand 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 n n ok Fo rm en al U se a at io ed i at io Bhutan 80 70 Strong influence Some influence Very little Not at all 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 n ok Fo en rm al U se ed ia ca tio at io n Strong influence Some influence Very little Not at all M bl ic Ed uc Ed Bhutan In the case of Bhutan, the motivations to learn Dzongkha and English were identical—both are considered essential for functioning in daily life.
The second option motivating the majority of respondents to learn both languages was to get a good job and to rise in life. In informal gatherings, most of them choose Dzongkha, while in formal gatherings they choose English. The reason given for the choices for both informal and formal gatherings was that the respondents felt comfortable speaking in the designated language. The language used in education, publications, and daily conversations spoken around the respondents had the strongest effect on their language choice, while the language used in the media and formal situations had some influence on their language choice (Table 2).
Pu 12 Pu bl ic Sp uc Sp M Language use Language gains importance in life through its use. Prior to use, the language needs to be learnt. This can be done through formal education or through some informal means like interacting with speakers of other languages. A person? s use of language, after the initial process of learning, is most obvious from (1) the publications that the person reads, (2) the language that the person uses in various domains like the home, the office or school, shopping, recreation, and religious activities, and (3) the importance that the person places on the language in their life.
The questionnaire addressed these three areas individually for both countries. Thailand The majority of the respondents, about 80%, read publications in the Thai language, and the reason for this is that they can read and understand Thai quickly (Table 5). Thai is also the language most often used in the various domains—on average, 80% in each of them, except in the office or school (Table 3). In school, the majority of respondents, 41%, use both Thai and English, depending on the class, followed by Thai, 36%.
Regarding the question of which uses of language are most important in their life, language use in the home and outside of the home was the most favored, followed by the ability to speak fluently and understand well, and lastly by giving and receiving knowledge and by career advancement (Table 4). Table 3. Percentage of languages used in various domains in Thailand and Bhutan. THAILAND Home Office/School Shopping Recreation Religion % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. Thai 93. 2 41 36. 4 16 90. 9 40 75. 0 33 90. 9 40 English Other* Depends* TOTAL 0. 0 2. 3 4. 5 100 0 1 2 44 20. 4 2. 3 40. 9 100 9 1 18 44 2. 3 0. 0 6. 8 100 1 0 3 44 4. 5 4. 16 100 2 2 7 44 2. 3 6. 8 0. 0 100 1 3 0 44 * Other—Language other than Thai or English; * Depends—Choice between Thai or English (or Thai or another language), depending on the situation BHUTAN Home Office/School Shopping Recreation Religion % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. Dzongkha 45. 0 18 32. 5 13 67. 5 27 45 18 87. 5 35 English Other* Depends* TOTAL 0. 0 52. 5 2. 5 100 0 21 1 40 22. 5 5 40 100 9 2 16 40 2. 5 10 20 100 1 4 8 40 20 5 30 100 8 2 12 40 0. 0 12. 5 0. 0 100 0 5 0 40 * Other—Language other than Dzongkha or English; * Depends—Choice between Dzongkha or English (or Dzongkha or another language), depending on the situation 3 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Thai English Other Mix 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Dzongkha English Other Mix H om of e fic & ou e or t sc ho ol Sh op pi ng R ec re at io n R el ig io n Table 4. Importance attached to uses of language in Thailand and Bhutan in percentages THAILAND Language use % No. Home and out 34. 0 15 Knowledge 20. 5 9 Job 20. 5 9 Fluency 25 11 TOTAL 100 44 BHUTAN % No. 17. 5 7 42. 5 17 10 4 30 12 100 40 Thailand 40 35 30 25 25 20. 5 20. 5 20 15 10 5 0 Language use 34 O om e ffi & ce ou or t sc ho o Sh op l pi R ec ng re at io n R el ig io n H Bhutan 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 17. 10 Language use 30 42. 5 & no out w le dg e Jo Fl b ue nc y H om 14 K no H K Jo b Fl ue nc y om e ou t w le dg e e & Table 5. Language in which publications (newspaper, magazines, books, etc. ) are read in Thailand and Bhutan in percentages. Language Thai English TOTAL THAILAND % Number 79. 5 35 20. 5 9 100 44 BHUTAN Language % Dzongkha 17. 5 English 82. 5 100 Number 17 33 40 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 79. 5 82. 5 National Language English 20. 5 17. 5 Thailand Bhutan Bhutan The majority of the respondents, 82. 5%, read publications in English, and the reason for this is that they can read and understand English quickly (Table 5).
In the various domains of language use, Dzongkha holds the majority at 61%, except in school, where the majority of respondents, 40 %, speak a mixture of Dzongkha and English, followed by courses in Dzongkha and English alone (Table 3). For the question regarding which uses of language are most important in the respondent? s life, the most favored use was to give and receive knowledge, followed by the need for an ability to speak fluently and understand well, and finally, for communicating in the home and outside the home (Table 4). Findings Thailand The questions were designed to reflect upon the purpose of this study.
The questions on language choice and attitude were put across in the form of motivation to learn a language, the choice of language in formal and informal gatherings, and the five factors (education, media, publication, spoken and formally recognized use) that influence a person? s language choice. The data gathered reveals that, in Thailand, the Thai language is the most prominent and most frequently used language. The motivation study revealed that Thai was very much needed for the respondents? daily life, while English is used for instrumental purposes such as 15 etting a job and rising in life. In formal and informal situations, Thai seems to be the most important language. The language of education (medium of instruction) and the daily spoken language were rated the highest among the five factors that influence a person? s choice of language. Thus, the effect of the language in education and the need to use the language for daily functioning is supported by the motivation to learn and to the use of language in formal and informal gatherings. These findings strongly support other indications that Thai is the most often used language for Thai people.
The importance of education and its effect on language choice and attitude is also strong. The questions regarding language use were put forth in the form of asking which language the respondents read publications in, which language they use in various domains like the home, the office or school, shopping, recreation, and religious activities, and a ranking of the uses of language to determine which uses are most important. The data reveals that the majority of the respondents read publications of every sort in Thai. Thai is the dominant language in the various domains except in school, where a mixture of Thai and English is generally used.
Language use at home and outside the home, and the ability to speak fluently and understand well in a language, were ranked as the most important uses of language. These three factors determining language use are complementary and reveal the importance of the use of Thai. Bhutan The questions about motivation revealed that the respondents regard Dzongkha and English as equally important for functioning in daily life. This shows the importance of both languages in Bhutan. Dzongkha was used most often in informal gatherings and English was used most often in formal gatherings.
The language used in education, conversations, and publications had the greatest influence on the respondents? language choice. Therefore, the choice of English as the medium of education has had a great effect on the shift in language use from Dzongkha to English. This is further supported by the major use of English in formal gatherings. In Bhutan, the people most often involved in formal gatherings such as meetings, seminars, etc. , are civil servants and learned persons. Thus, the shift in language choice from Dzongkha to English at even the undergraduate level reveals the new importance of the English language in Bhutan.
Regarding language use, the majority of respondents read publications of every sort in English. This can be explained by the wider availability of useful, resourceful publications in English, compared to those in Dzongkha, and also the general interest determined by the respondents? earlier education using English as the medium. Dzongkha is still used dominantly, along with other languages of the country, in all domains—the home, shopping, recreation, and religion—except in schools, where English is most widely used. The most favored answer to the question of which use of language is most important in a persons? ife, is the giving and receiving of knowledge. But in Bhutan, knowledge is received in English. Thus, it is clear that English is gaining in influence compared to Dzongkha. At present, this influence may be restricted mainly to the educational institutions and the elite and learned groups of society. But it is unavoidable that, with majority of children learning language at school, the use of English will surpass the use of Dzongkha and other languages in the country. If all else remains constant, this is simply a matter of time. 16 ____________________________________________________________ 5.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS The Thai language is the main language of the majority of Thai people. The findings reveal that Thai is the most-often used language in education, publications, and in domains like the home, office, and school, shopping, recreation and religious activities. It is also the language used most often in formal and informal gatherings of the people. On the other hand, the situation of Dzongkha is unlike that of the Thai language. The Dzongkha language is used in education, publications, and the various domains in only a limited amount. Instead, the use of English is gaining importance in Bhutan.
English is the major medium of instruction in schools, and most educated people feel more comfortable using English than Dzongkha. The different levels of use of Thai and Dzongkha were compared earlier in this paper using Haugen? s model of language planning. Haugen? s model is comprised of four stages, namely, selection, codification, implementation, and elaboration. As discussed earlier, both Thai and Dzongkha have passed through the two initial stages of selection and codification. In the cases of implementation and elaboration, however, there is a difference that may help to explain the difference in the usage of the two languages.
The stage of implementation is most successful when it is carried out through the spread of education. Thai implementation is successful because the medium of instruction uniformly throughout all the schools in Thailand is Thai. Thus, every student gains a strong knowledge of the Thai writing system, grammar, and lexicon. Also, correction procedures can be effectively carried out in education. This field study revealed that the strongest influence on the choice of Thai over English is education.
This results in the wide choice of Thai for publications, conversations, and formal and informal gatherings. In Bhutan, too, the field study revealed that education had a strong effect on language choice and use. The language that has become important in Bhutan is English, not the national language as in Thailand. In Bhutan this choice and use of English is due to its wider use in education. The use of English is now on an equal footing with the use of Dzongkha. The use of English may increase and surpass the use of Dzongkha over the years, as it is widely used to impart knowledge in education.
People increasingly choose English for reading publications, speaking, internal administration, and formal gatherings like meetings, seminars, workshops, etc. Elaboration, the last stage in the model, is another important factor determining language use. Elaboration, mainly terminological modernization, is dynamic in nature. English continuously borrows terminology that it does not already have from other languages and continues to expand its lexicon. This expansion increases the functional aspects of the language.
The Thai language has also done a lot in the area of elaboration, because without elaboration, it would not be able to achieve such wide use by the people and in the various technical and humanistic teachings in schools and universities through Thailand. Dzongkha? s limited use in education can be accounted for by its relative lack of elaboration. When the first school in Bhutan started in the 1960s, modern knowledge could not be imparted in Dzongkha due to the lack of elaboration. Even the materials for the single required class in Dzongkha were mostly in Choke, the literary language.
Dzongkha still needs a great amount of elaboration to be functional enough to be used, like the Thai language, as 17 the lingua franca of the country and to impart technical and humanistic knowledge in schools and other institutes. Dzongkha compares very poorly to Thai in terms of implementation and elaboration. Based on the results of this study, it seems that education is a key area where this issue could be addressed for the benefit of society. Thus, it may be best if language planners working on Dzongkha initially work on elaboration to expand the vocabulary of Dzongkha in various technical and humanistic disciplines.
Subsequent implementation can be carried out through the educational system, where evaluations and necessary corrections can be easily undertaken. This solution would ensure that Dzongkha reaches the same level as English in terms of usage and confidence. English was, after all, learned in school by the Bhutanese people. 18 ____________________________________________________________ APPENDIX Appendix 1: Questionnaire LANGUAGE QUESTIONNAIRE Please note: * Use (? ) or (x) to respond to the questions. * If you want to mark more than one answer for a question, please do so. * Some questions ask you to give a rating to the different answers.
Your first (best) choice should be marked 1, your second choice marked 2, and so on. * Please answer the questions without any help from other people. Your personal view is important! ____________________________________________________________ ________________ I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION Date____________________ 1. Personal information: Age: ___ Male: ___ Female: ___ 2. Native language or mother tongue (please write your answer in English): _____________________________________ 3. Language you were educated in (choose one only): a. Majority of classes in Dzongkha/ Thai ___ b. Majority of classes in English ___ c.
Equal mix of both Dzongkha/Thai and English 4. Level of education: a. Primary ___ b. Secondary ___ c. Undergraduate ___ 5. How many years have you studied Dzongkha /Thai? Rate your Dzongkha/ Thai level: Number of years ______ a. Almost native speaker ___ b. Very good ___ c. Good ___ d. Fair ___ e. Not very good ___ How many years have you studied English? Rate your English level: Number of years ______ a. Almost native speaker ___ b. Very good ___ c. Good ___ d. Fair ___ e. Not very good ___ ___ 6. 19 7. Please rate how comfortable you are with using Dzongkha/Thai. Very comfortable Comfortable Neutral Not comfortable Really not comfortable
Reading Writing Speaking Listening 8. Please rate how comfortable you are with using English. Very comfortable Reading Writing Speaking Listening ____________________________________________________________ ________________ II. LANGUAGE CHOICE AND ATTITUDE 1. Which of the following motivates you in learning Dzongkha/ Thai? (Please rate the answers with 1, 2, 3, and so on, where 1 is for the best choice, 2 is for the second best choice, and so on. ) a. It is important for getting a good job and rising in life. ___ b. It is essential for functioning in my daily life. ___ c. It is just for communication. __ d. I feel more confident using it than any other language. ___ e. I can? t avoid using it. ___ Which of the following motivates you in learning English? (Please rate the answers with 1, 2, 3, and so on, where 1 is for the best choice, 2 is for the second best choice, and so on. ) a. It is important for getting a good job and rising in life. ___ b. It is essential for functioning in my daily life. ___ c. It is just for communication. ___ d. I feel more confident using it than any other language. ___ e. I can? t avoid using it. ___ Comfortable Neutral Not comfortable Really not comfortable 2. . When you are in an informal situation, such as in a restaurant with your friends, where you can use either Dzongkha/Thai or English, which do you choose? Why? Dzo/Thai ___ English ___ Because: a. My friends use it. ___ b. I feel comfortable speaking it. ___ c. I have more knowledge of it than the other language. ___ d. We almost never use the other language. ___ 20 4. When you are in a formal situation, such as a meeting, seminar, exam, etc. , where you can use either Dzongkha/ Thai or English, which language do you choose? Why? Dzo/Thai ___ English ___ Because: a. My colleagues use it. ___ b.
I feel comfortable speaking it. ___ c. I have more knowledge in it than the other language. ___ d. We almost never use the other language. ___ 5. How much do you think the following factors influence your choice of language? Strong influence Your educational background Language in the media: television, radio, movies, and music Language in publications: books, newspapers, magazines, and so on Language spoken around you daily Language used in formal meetings, seminars, and so on, as required by the government or the institution where you are working or studying ____________________________________________________________ ______ III. LANGUAGE USE 1. In which language do you read most publications (newspapers, magazines, books, etc. ) and what are the reasons for choosing this language? Dzo /Thai ___ English ___ Reasons: a. There is a lot of useful educational material written in it ___ b. I can read and understand it quickly ___ c. Because of my previous education in it ___ d. It is important for my life now and in the future ___ e. There is a variety of choice of interesting materials written in it ___ f. Other reasons, if any: ________________________________________________ 2.
What language do you use when you are in the following places? (Please write your answer in English. ) a. Home _______________________________________ b. Office/school c. Shopping d. Recreation e. Religious activities _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ Some Very little influence influence No influence 21 3. Which uses of language are important in your life? a. Speaking at home and outside the home b. Giving and receiving knowledge c. Getting a job and further career advancement d.
Ability to speak fluently and understand well ___ ___ ___ ___ Thank you very much for your cooperation in filling out this questionnaire. Please return it as soon as possible. 22 REFERENCES Aksornkool, Namtip. 1983. An Historical Study of Language Planning. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Chua, Liang. 2001. Language Shift in a Singaporean Chinese Family and the Matrix Language Frame Model. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Oxford University. Cooper, R. L. 1989. Language Planning and Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fishman, J. A. (editor). 1993. The Earliest Stage of Language Planning.
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