Why do People learn English in Nepal?


    Findings of the Study

    The study was carried out among eight participants of upper graduate level in Kathmandu University, School of Education, who are studying and working at the same time in their professional field. My impetus to carry out this research was to explore the perspectives of those participants regarding the role of English in their life. They have been engaged in higher education, where without English academic life is complicated. Especially in Kathmandu University, the environment is English- seeking. Therefore, I wanted to know their perceptions about English and its placement in their real life. Likewise, I wanted to explore any sorts of changes that the knowledge of English has brought into their life.

    Along with my experience, an issue got developed which deals with why people learn English in our context and what are the uses of it in everyday life activity. Two major research questions were constructed and interviews were taken related to RQs.  Finally, data analysis and interpretation were based on the experiences of the researcher, participants, and the relevant literature.

    Reasons for Learning English

    1. Participants reported that in the Nepalese context, fathers encouraged or forced their children to learn English with similar words that they wanted to see the children’s better future with pride.

    2. Participants started learning English by giving importance to English rather than taking it just as a course from the beginning of their education

    3. It was found that participants learned English to grab the craze of people in society. It was the demand of the time, which gave respect to them and people looked at them from different visions.

    4. Participants learned English for power. They strongly believed that good English equals better money. English was taken as a means of power and position.

    5. The attraction of English movies, songs, and the language itself impressed people to learn it.

    The Importance of English in the life

    1. English was very important to be professionally established in a particular field. From job seeking to get accepted in the place and for the promotion of each field, English was needed.

    2. English was essential for the people who saw their future career in developmental agencies. To work as a program manager, researcher, or any positional worker in the developmental sector, English is the prime factor since it is linked to international and foreign aids and communication.

    3. For the participants of the study, English was the sole factor in the academic field. Higher education was English-based. Likewise, people gave importance to the knowledge of English first in comparison to the knowledge of the content in the particular field.

    4. All of the participants preferred English in comparison to Nepali for using it in mass while introducing themselves and presenting their ideas or in the professional field because they feel proud to use it. Hence, English was vital for self-esteem.

    5. English was working as a medium to judge people’s quality, capacity, and standard. People with good English had fame, publicity, and respect from teachers to actors.

    6. Inability to cope with the English environment aroused bitter feelings among participants, which motivates and sometimes de-motivates them. On the other hand, they felt superior to themselves when they found themselves better in English in the immediate mass.

    7. Except for communicating with the family members at home, most of the active hours of my participants were spent with the use of English. They hang out in chants in English, in the workplace, it is used and in university also time is spent in English.

    All these perceptions and the realities of the participants presented their prevailing personal and social reality of. In their life, English was the milestone, which was directly linked with their livelihood.

    Differences in the Life Due to the Knowledge of English

    1. All of the participants’ confidence to deal with people on a personal, professional, and academic level was developed. Due to their knowledge of English, they could tackle any interviews, discussions, and presentations in mass.

    2. The knowledge of English had brought a positive change in their relationships with other people in their surroundings. There was less chance to be out-grouped and there was special respect for them, due to their English.

    3. The livelihood was improved since it generated different sources of earning. Without English, they imagined their life as homemakers and mine- workers in the Gulf countries.

    Strategies for Developing English

    All of the participants perceived the role of English as vital in their life, so they were working to develop it day by day.

    1. The use of an advanced English dictionary was the way for developing English for many of my participants. They managed time for it and when they got free time then they looked at a dictionary, found out the words and their meanings, and tried to use it in their everyday use of English.

    2. English newspaper reading assisted them to develop their English and made it standard. When they went through any document then they copied the catchy words and sentences.

    Listening to English music, watching English movies, sports commentaries, and the books were the useful resources that my participants used for their English development.


    The participants learn English from the very beginning, thinking it is useful though they do not know how it will lead their future, because of the importance given to English in the surroundings where they are grown up. The way parents force or convince their child develops a kind of feeling in children. They start thinking English is the most. Once they get good marks in English, it means they have a better future according to their parents, especially their father. The first, common, and important reason to drive my participants to learn English was the father factor, which is completely true for me as well. The importance of English has become even more prominent. When they come to higher education, they realize the need for it. The society, environment, reading materials, and experiences make them feel English is superior. Beginning with their academic status, social status also is crucial for them. They are judged in society with their level of English and they have been judging others with the level of English as well. Good English means a good person. Hence, English has been used as a tool to discriminate against people. As a result, they feel proud and superior to themselves, when they are in such groups, where their English is comparatively better. However, they feel guilt, humiliation, and inferiority, when they find their level of English low in comparison to the person next to them. English is working as a source of power. In the immediate context, without English, they cannot find their existence. Once the person has good English, better and more opportunities are available for them, with good-paying. Hence, for better livelihood, English is the best. In different professions, English is the first and important aspect to overcome. Teachers of mathematics are recruited based on their English language. For leadership and developmental jobs, without good English, they are not accepted as a strong candidate. Hence, English plays a prominent role in the life of the participants, which gives them jobs, promotions, social status, which is directly linked with the powerful livelihood.

    Each participant has been given priority for learning English. There are positive changes in their life due to their knowledge of English. They compare their life before they were not competent in English and now when they have some satisfactory level of English. They share their nervousness, bitter feelings, and inability to deal with people at first, and compare the present status, where they are giving interviews in the complete English language. Hence, the confidence level is high. Likewise, they have maintained a kind of status in their society, which is obviously respectful and positive.  The relationship among friends has improved and they have professional people from abroad as well. Finally, they are not completely satisfied with their level of English. Therefore, they have been working for its development. They use dictionaries, TV, newspapers, and books for the development of their English.


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