Nepali-English code-switching in the conversations of Nepalese people
: A sociolinguistic study

  • Dinesh Gurung

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis investigates and documents the mixing of English elements at various levels in the conversation of the Nepalese people irrespective of their age groups, gender, education level, professions and geographical locations. The objectives of this research are to find out- the extent of mixing English in the conversation of the Nepalese people; groups of people by social variables mixing English more; the reasons for mixing English; the role of media and education in mixing English and finally the impact of Nepali-English language contact on Nepali language.
    I employed both primary and secondary data for this research; questionnaire survey with individual and group interview followed by the recording of the natural conversation of the people, the first hand empirical evidence of mixing English in the natural settings. Furthermore, I observed and analysed relevant Nepali-English mixed data from various domains such as print media, broadcasting media and education institutions.
    The structural analysis of the Nepali-English code-switching data from both primary and secondary sources evinces that the English elements from lexical level, clausal and phrasal level to sentence level are mixed in the conversation of the Nepalese people. The Nepali-English code-switching data are dominated more at lexical levels specifically by English nouns indicatiing contact-induced potential lexical loss of Nepali retaining the morpho-syntactic rules of the Nepali language. Intra-sentential and inter-sentential code-switching are evident in the code-switching data of Nepali-English language pairs. The English embedded language island is placed in a mixed sentence according to the Nepali grammar without violating the English grammar structure. The main reason for mixing the English elements is to facilitate conversation. This research identified mixing English elements in the conversation of the Nepalese people is influenced by professions, education level and geographical locations. However, no significant difference was identified among the age group and gender group in mixing English in their conversations. Nepali-English mixed language has emerged as a dialect in the Nepali speech community through the recurrent use of the English elements in the Nepali conversation.
    This research adds Nepali-English code-switching study carried out based on the existing code-switching theories studied outside Nepal to the literature of the world code-switching study.
    The documentation of Nepali-English CS in this thesis bears significance at the time when teaching English has become global and has no more limited to its first language speakers. This study further provides platform to discuss the idea of trans-languaging in English language pedagogy. Similarly, this study provides empirical evidences to show that English is gradually developing as a second language in Nepal.
    Date of Award10 Jan 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorBabatunde Omoniyi (Supervisor), Eva Eppler (Supervisor) & Anastassia Zabrodskaja (Supervisor)

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