Between Homes and Hosts: Life Narratives of South and Southeast Asian Diasporic Academic Women in America
This dissertation is a transcultural feminist and postcolonial study of the life narratives (auto/biographies) of late Twentieth Century South and Southeast Asian diasporic academic women in America. It is delimited to Sara Suleri’s Meatless Days (1989) and Boys Will Be Boys (2003), Meena Alexander’s Fault Lines (2003), Shirley Lim’s Among the White Moon Faces (1997), and Bharati Mukherjee’s Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977). Located on a larger scale in Asian American literary tradition and focused on life narratives written by diasporic women, this investigation is in the area of Autobiography Studies.
The main argument of this study is that, through their construction of relational, hybrid, multiple, and shifting subjectivities/identities in their life narratives, diasporic academic women not only challenge the male autobiography writing conventions but also question and subvert the universalist assumptions of the White Euro-American/Western feminism. This dissertation also argues that, operating from their hybrid viewing positions as academics and making a creative use of their agency as intellectuals, the Asian-American diasporic women in America use their life narratives to disrupt postcolonial polarities and make the imaginary liminal space between home and host cultures a productive site for diasporic articulations. Moreover, this dissertation investigates how they put up with the demands of their intellectual lives and motherhood, and brave the odds stacked against them in their patriarchal native societies and race-/gender-conscious American society and academy. Since they leave their homes, this study particularly investigates how their concept of home changes across time and space.
Their experience of straddling two different cultures simultaneously develops in them a sense of be/longing or un/belonging, cultural nostalgia as well as a tendency to assimilate, the degrees of which vary from person to person. Due to their marriages with white North Americans, their distinguished positions as academics in American universities, and multiple migrations, their concept of home changes from originary to imaginary, static to portable, and from singular to plural, constructed through writing. It is through disrupting male autobiography writing practice, questioning the First World feminism, energizing the “intervening space” between cultures, and overturning the traditional postcolonial binaries that South and Southeast Asian diasporic academic women in America problematize and nuance contemporary production of feminist and postcolonial/diasporic knowledge
The Effects of the Interaction between Monomodal and Multimodal Texts on Language Performance in Pakistani ESL Context: A Longitudinal Case Study
The study is about the language performance of undergraduate learners including the possibilities and challenges faced by them in the learning and development of linguistic competence, mainly communicative competence. The research examines the use of visual texts as supplementary teaching materials and their influence on the barriers caused by the learners' Affective and Cognitive domains. For these pupils, after leaning the target language for 6-12 year, insufficient communicative competence remains to be one of the major reasons for their low performance in academic and non-academic settings.
It is a longitudinal Case study that challenges the hegemony of the application of the monomodal teaching materials. The study focused on 41 learners for duration of a semester during their Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at Air University, Islamabad. However, the research is conducted in two phases; the cross-sectional study in phase-I serves to provide the background knowledge of the problem being address in the second phase of Longitudinal Case study.
The data collected during both phases of the study covered varieties of texts and were analyzed through qualitative and quantitative methods, thus resulting in thick description demonstrating both the process and the product of language learning. The results of both case studies reflect learners' acquisition of the second language being heavily influenced by the factors investigated and suggest a significant role for visual texts in the curriculum to minimize them.
Syllabus Designing for Teaching of English at Intermediate Level in Pakistani Colleges
The present study aimed at identifying weak areas of the syllabus of English for Intermediate level that hamper the teaching and learning process, and to suggest changes to align it with teaching and learning requirements and needs of the students in an age of science, technology and commerce. Giving rationale of the study, the researcher discussed the need of evaluating the syllabus. He established the necessity of the research work in perspective of the phenomenon of change, mass failure of students, lack of skills and intellectual and creative incapacity of the students. He set the research questions and objectives of the study.
The researcher discussed various aspects of syllabus design and evaluation of syllabus in literature review. They include: basic concept of syllabus; needs analysis; impact of situational factors; aims and objectives; concept of proficiency; learning styles; various approaches to syllabus design; methodology; role and design of instructional materials; selection and grading; and tools of evaluation of syllabus. The researcher adopted quantitative and qualitative techniques. The population comprised Intermediate students, Graduation students, teachers of English, parents and members of the Curriculum Committee. The choice was made by convenient sampling technique.
The size of the population was 1000 Intermediate students, 500 Graduation students, 600 teachers and 1000 parents. The questionnaires were sent to every segment of population in numbers exceeding the actual population size of each segment. The questionnaires returned from Intermediate students, Graduation students, teachers and parents were 1040, 460, 340 and 480 respectively. The research tools used were questionnaires, group discussion, and evaluation tools selected from certain linguists. The data analysis manifested that almost all the respondents from all categories of population criticised the present syllabus in perspective of its aims and objectives, needs, contents, methodology, and styles of learning. The application of evaluation tools also demonstrated gross level flaws in the syllabus contents and textbooks.
The researcher gave his finding derived from the data analysis and the evaluation. They included these observations: the evaluation of the syllabus had not been carried out since 1972; needs analysis was never conducted. Listening and speaking skills were never included in the syllabus. The syllabus was failing in producing proficiency of language in the students. On the basis of the analysis and the finding, the researcher gave recommendations for an effective syllabus. They included: periodical evaluation of the syllabus and needs analysis process; shifting of contents from literature based to skills based; making the syllabus dominantly communicative and task based; and inclusion of certain contents in the syllabus. He also suggested syllabus contents for Intermediate level of education. The researcher concluded the research with a note of optimism and best wishes for the future of ELT in Pakistan.
Pedagogical Practices of English Language Teachers at the Higher Secondary Level in Pakistan: An Evaluative Study
The present study examined the effectiveness of current English language teaching practices at the Higher Secondary level. The basic proposition of the study was that the current teaching practices at the intermediate level are ineffective and are in the need of improvement and reconsideration. The researcher conducted this evaluation through descriptive research methods and used questionnaires for students and teachers, and classroom observation sheet to collect data. The cohort of the study comprised 400 students and 100 teachers. Classroom observations of 29 English language teachers’ teaching practices at the institutes in the capital territory of Islamabad were conducted. The collected data were analyzed through Chi-square goodness of fit test, z-tests for proportions, and chi-square test of association using SPSS, Excel, and MSTAT software.
The research instruments addressed the correspondence between the objectives and teaching practices, motivational aspects of the teaching practices, teachers’ ability to present the material, teachers and students’ awareness of the objectives, teachers’ evaluation practices of students, and teachers’ reflection on their own teaching practices. This study also examined the association between gender and the current teaching practices at the intermediate level.
It was found that the current teaching practices do not adequately align with the course objectives, but that they are motivating to some extent. Teachers are generally skillful at presenting the material but they do not tell students the objectives which results in the students remaining unaware of the objectives of the course. Furthermore, the findings with regard to teacher’s assessment of the students are significantly unfavourable. Also they do not reflect significantly on their own teaching practices. No significant differences between male and female teachers’ teaching practices are found.
Based on the findings, recommendations have been made with hope for improvement in ELT practices and further areas for research have been suggested.
A Gender-Based Study of English Textbooks Produced by Punjab Textbook Board and Oxford University Press for Elementary Level
Gender as a social and cultural phenomenon, rather than a biological one, is instituted in children in early stages and textbooks play an imperative role in shaping up such gender related views and attitudes. Following these lines, the focus area of this research is gender depiction in the English textbooks produced by two different publishing companies (namely, Punjab Textbook Board and Oxford University Press) for elementary level in Pakistan. It aims to make a comprehensive comparison between the gender images as displayed in the two sets of textbooks as well as the variety of gender ideas their respective readers have. To meet the objectives, the study is divided in to two phases: Firstly, the textbooks by both publishing companies are analyzed and in the second phase their respective reader’s conceptions regarding gender are gathered and analyzed.
The study reveals the presence of biased attitude towards gender in both sets of textbooks but at the same time, it is also discovered that Oxford Modern English has improved gender images , in ratio as well as in presentation, than the textbooks by Punjab textbook board. It is also found that students have partially fixed ideas about the attributes, occupations and activities as suitable for the members of both genders. Finally, the study reveals that gender images of the readers of Oxford Modern English are slightly improved than the readers of the other publishing company. This is an important finding as it suggests that textbooks can play a crucial role in shaping up gender ideas of the children and thus can be used as an effective tool to encourage positive gender roles among children.
The study recommends a gender-based test of the textbooks prior to publication, guidelines for the writers while creating text for children and some tips for the teachers to handle gender partial text
Role of Students and teachers Beliefs in English Language Learning at Federal Colleges of Pakistan
Beliefs play a vital role in shaping actions. They not only drive the actions but also help in identifying strategies to practice beliefs. English Language Learning beliefs and strategy use is a relatively unexplored area in Pakistani context. The aim of this study is to investigate Pakistani college students’ and teachers’ beliefs about English language learning, to explore English language learning strategies used by the students and preferred by the teachers and to find out relationship between beliefs and strategy use.
419 college students and 40 teachers participated in the study. A wide range of data collection tools were used, including four Likert-scale questionnaires, comprising different versions for teachers and students respectively, The Individual Background Questionnaire (IBQ), the Beliefs About Language Learning Inventory (BALLI), the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) and Teachers Preferred Strategy Questionnaire (TPSQ). Apart from these questionnaires, other information gathering tools including Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), Open-ended Questions, Interviews and Classroom Observations were also used for collecting qualitative data with a view to imparting more reliability and objectivity to the data used for the study. In this regard, five focus group discussion sessions and 12 classroom observations were conducted. Data were analyzed using SPSS 20 for quantitative date, while the software Nvivo 9 was used for qualitative data analysis.
The results largely suggest convergence in teachers’ and students’ beliefs, yet they differ from each other in many respects. The data revealed that metacognitive strategies are most frequently used by Pakistani students, while social strategies are amongst those least preferred. Gender as well as exposure to English is among significant factors in determining the use of these strategies. The study also showed that teachers preferred certain strategies over the others. Most importantly, the study testified that there existed a significant association between beliefs and strategy use. The study has important implications for language teaching, teacher training, syllabus reformation and the examination system.
The study recommends that curriculum, teacher training programs and examination system prevalent in colleges of Pakistan be revised keeping in view teachers’ and students’ beliefs towards learning of English in order to improve English language teaching/learning situation in the country.
Rationalization and Fallacies in Benazir Bhutto's and Pervez Musharraf's Political Autobiographies
Political discourse rests heavily on persuasive aspects of language. Political writers use a well-stocked battery of persuasive devices to rationalize their actions or to sway people into a supportive world. Readers and listeners are not normally very analytical or rational in their approaches and responses. Empty rhetoric, falsehood wrapped in piety, plausible deceit, thunderous assertions, misdirected arguments, false conclusions – as long as they succeed in moving people – they will be employed. This may be described as the “dishonest” use of language. However, if the pursuit of power is considered to be legitimate, then all means employed in the realization of that pursuit are legitimized. The present study is not judgmental about these matters. It merely seeks to identify some of the linguistic devices used in the process i.e. the rationalization of the political role besides pointing out some errors in arguments.
Pakistani political scenario is permeated with a dichotomy of power between civilian rulers and military dictators. Each claims his/her positive efforts in the welfare and progress of the country, whereas the consequences tell a different story. The social, geographical, political and economic conditions have deteriorated through the sixty-five years’ history of Pakistan. Politicians hold military Generals responsible for these and the latter have the same opinion about politicians. Language is an obvious tool for them to rationalize their roles while in or out of office. Ms Benazir Bhutto’s and General Pervez Musharraf’s political autobiographies entitled “Daughter of the East” and “In the Line of Fire”, respectively, have been selected for this analysis.
The analysis has been done under the paradigm of critical discourse analysis to unearth hidden motives and ideologies underneath discourses. The selected models – for the purpose of looking into the linguistic techniques employed by the authors for the rationalization of their rule and logical errors committed in the process – proved useful in validating the purpose for which these are formed. Applying these tools, the researcher was able to uncover a number of rationalizations and fallacies in the autobiographies noted above. The genre of autobiography has also been found useful to examine personal motives of the authors.
Cultural Implications on TESL at Graduation Level in Islamabad
Cummins (2000) is of the view that reduced performance, poor achievement and imperfect acquisition of a language may be results of socio-cultural variables, group differences and negative feelings. Keeping this in mind the researcher tried to find out the current situation of teaching and learning cultural background of the text in English language classrooms at graduation level in Pakistan. It is an effort to unearth the possibilities of teaching and learning cultural background of the text inside the classrooms, for teaching English as a second language at university level in Pakistan.
Research questions are, how important is it for a language learner to learn cultural background of the text for learning English as a second language? Can proficiency level of second language learners are increased by teaching them cultural background of the text inside the classroom? Can motivation be enhanced in the language learners by introducing cultural background of the text inside the classrooms, especially for teaching English as a second language? The population of this study comprised of all the undergraduate students learning English as a second language and all the teachers of English, teaching English as a second language to the undergraduate students in Islamabad.
Sample for the current study comprised of 400 students and 100 teachers at graduation level. Research instruments developed and utilized are Questionnaire for the Teachers, Questionnaire for the Students and Short achievement test for the students. Data helped a lot in establishing a sound and far-reaching conclusion. There had not been any dependable and logical national language policy. The study methods utilized by English language teachers are not up to date and do not care to address the need of introducing cultural background of the text inside English language classrooms. In terms of teaching material no such material is available which can focus on the cultural background of the text inside English language classrooms. A great number of English language learners in Pakistan have not been able to achieve the competency level which they were required to achieve and a vital reason is the absence of role of culture in English language learning. Maximum number of students, who were introduced with cultural background of the text, not only responded better than their class mates but at the same time scored higher in the achievement test as well.
A Hermeneutic Study of Metaphor and Meaning Making in Bulleh Shah's Poetry
This interdisciplinary, qualitative study addresses key issues of relationship between language, meaning and life. It makes an entry, through Bulleh Shah’s Punjabi poetry as a case, into the conceptual world of Sufi poetry as an authentic domain of knowledge, and argues that mystics’ language articulates profound, high truths. This research focuses on metaphor as a discursive strategy that embodies abstract concepts in concrete images to perform ontological, epistemological and cognitive functions. Ricoeur’s (2004) poetic hermeneutics of recovery underpins the theoretical approaches and ways of interpretation of the mystical discourse of Bulleh Shah. A detailed hermeneutic analysis and interpretation of Alif, one of the dominant metaphors for God in Sufi literature, is followed by the focus converging on three universal metaphors in mystical literature - Love, Journey and Transformation, expressed under culture-specific images in Bulleh Shah’s poetry.
This study explores new vistas of research, looks at the interconnections between the sacred and the secular, the local and the universal, broadens the parameters of English Studies, and introduces a new paradigm shift that revises the relationship of English language and literature with local cultural and literary traditions in the perspective of sacred literature, and opens up the indigenous discourse in local context. It questions the assumed centrality of English literature in the English discipline, challenges the fixity of its canons and conventions, and replenishes the complete dearth of serious academic work on local literature by admitting Punjabi Sufi poetry as appropriate subject for study in English Studies. My application of Western theories of language and metaphor to Punjabi Sufi poetry and its hermeneutic interpretation in English language incorporates it in English Studies.
This study also adds to Translation Studies by looking at the issue of untranslatability of metaphor in mythic language and letter mysticism, and offers possibilities to future researchers to reread and rethink about the interconnections between English literature and local literatures, and include more voices from the peripheries in the construct of English Studies.
English for Medical Purposes: A Case of English for Specific Purposes
The present study aimed at investigating the academic and professional English language communicative needs of medical learners in Pakistan. The study explored the frequency of usage of English, its importance in various activities related to medical field, the existing level of English proficiency of medical learners also identified opinions about learning English at medical colleges in Pakistan. In order to investigate academic and professional English language needs of medical learners, empirical research was conducted by means of survey questionnaires. I employed techniques of purposive sampling and stratified random sampling.
Four questionnaires were constructed for four groups of medical discourse community; students of medicine, teachers of medicine, medical trainees, and medical administrators. Data were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Closed-ended items were analyzed quantitatively by using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) and open-ended items were analyzed qualitatively by reviewing responses, grouping related responses and identifying common themes.
The findings revealed that English was extensively used both in medical studies and profession. English was considered highly important to carry out various activities in medical field. The findings presented that medical learners’ existing level of English proficiency is not adequate to meet their linguistic needs and thus English is highly required. The findings revealed that the amount of English taught before joining medical college is not adequate to meet academic and professional medical needs of the medical learners therefore a course of English is required to address the problem. Based on the findings, needs oriented course of English has been recommended for its implementation in medical colleges of Pakistan.
The findings provided directions for designing course contents that need to be integrated with enriched knowledge of all four skills of English language with a close emphasis on productive skills (speaking and writing) as compared to receptive skills (reading and listening). The study indicated the needs of specific methodology and trainings of English language teachers for teaching English in medical colleges. The overall findings of the study revealed dire need of course of English that should be urgently implemented in the medical colleges of Pakistan.
The Multi-accentual Language of Children as Border Crossers in Contemporary Literature
This qualitative study focuses on the effects of adult discursive practices on language, consciousness, identity formation and development of worldview of children as presented in contemporary literature. To gain the objectives of the study, three literary texts, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Road to Nab End by William Woodruff and Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan, have been analyzed and interpreted using van Djik’s socio-cognitive methodological framework of micro and macro analysis in the context of language and linguistics.
The analysis and interpretation of the texts, at the local and global level of discourse, is based on the Social Constructionist perspective with an emphasis on the children’s understanding of self/other, and the world and reality around them in the prevalent socio-political context, with respect to the dialogic process of meaning making between children and adults. Based on the analysis of language and discourse in the selected text, critical insights are drawn as conclusion, and these refer to adult discourse, which is marked by cultural, religious and political factors as its markers, poses cognitive borders for child’s understanding of his/her identity and social position in society.
Moreover, adult rationale for war, violence, extremism and genocide not only confuse children’s concept of reality but has severe psychological, physical and cognitive consequences for their normal course of development. In conclusion, the adult responsibility towards children not only pertains to their physical care and protection but also to their psychological and cognitive growth and development into healthy and developed minds, which can lead the world towards a constructive future
Maintaining Multiple Identities: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of South Asian Immigrant Fiction
South Asian immigrants on being in a foreign land, including Britain and the USA, have to make many adjustments in their lifestyles to live a less frictional and more resourceful life. Yet they cannot completely delink themselves from their original culture in which they or their parents are brought up. This results in their developing complex and multiple identities which draw force partially from their origin as well as their host culture. Fiction writings, particularly by Diaspora writers, bring out these conflicts/issues more clearly than any other means as authors masquerade behind the veils of their respective protagonists whom they give their languages, origins, ethnicities, biographical similarities, particularly identity dilemmas and crises.
This study aims to investigate how immigrants of various South Asian origins and generations develop, maintain and/or negotiate the multiple aspects of their identities when they live in an entirely different host culture. With this aim in mind, the lives of characters in selected works of South Asian Immigrant Fiction have been analyzed using Bakhtin's framework of Novelistic Discourse for detecting the identity issues confronted by the immigrants as it particularly focuses on the dialogical relationship between the author and his/her characters, their languages and worldviews in the novelistic discourse. The works chosen centre around the issues of maintenance and negotiation of identities of various characters in the South Asian Immigrant Fiction in English. The ideology and identity of the authors is traced through their language use and portrayal of characters. Bakhtin's framework is aided by Sociolinguistic tools as well as Literary Close Reading, Discourse Analysis and Social Anthropology.
The study reveals that the necessity of developing multiple, contradictory and compromised identities are not without their windfalls and pitfalls though; it is helpful in immigrants' assimilation and naturalization in the host culture, yet at the cost of losing a great part of their original culture, language and heritage. Grown up in their native countries, the first generation parents are able to maintain multiple identities pretty successfully by posing a 'fake' identity. In contrast, the subsequent generations (in their developmental stages) have to face many peculiar dilemmas which often result in distancing/breaking off from their parents. The biggest challenge that poses the latter is striking a balance between individualism and family unity, personal freedom and family life, adjustment in the mainstream and expectations of home and, liberty and social conservatism.
Language Comprehensibility Through Digital Hypertext: An Experimental Study of Cognitive Understanding
This qualitative and interdisciplinary study experiments with the emerging digital hypertexts, composed in multimodal/ multisequential representational forms in order to understand the intricacies of cognitive processing of content language. This research attempts to find out how this phenomenon is connected to language, how digital text better facilitates meaning making and understanding, and also facilitates the use of language for communicating that meaning and understanding. Hence, also to evaluate how it brings comprehension competence through language in the reading of digital hypertexts. Since understanding the digital language of hypertexts is a new phenomenon in the Pakistani educational context, therefore the present study attempts to explore the relevant, intricate cognitive patterns as the non-native readers navigate through the interactive hyperlinked language for meaning making. Thus, the focus is on understanding the process rather than the product. For this purpose, qualitative approach and methods were applied in three phases. Participants from the postgraduate classes of English department were engaged and data responses were collected.
The study reveals that the participants exhibited many (meta) cognitive categories and informs that interaction with digital language representation enhances the meaning making experience of the non-native readers. The participants employed new reading strategies unlike the ones used for comprehending traditional sequential printed text. The study reveals that the medium has a great impact on the understanding process of the language readers, and that a different representational medium might facilitate or discourage the meaningful interaction with language.
It is concluded that the participants favor the use of multimodal digital hypertext for its positive impact on understanding and use of communicative language. Thus, the study highlights new openings for meaning making using digital language of multisequential/multimodal hypertext composed in a new environment.
Cognitive Problems of Urdu-Medium College Students in Learning English Syntax
he present study describes the learners' confusions caused by Grammar Translation Method. The researcher has tried to explain the reasons for the grammatical errors which the learners commit. Though the list of reasons is not intended to be exhaustive, yet its contents can be used inductively to understand learner's confusion. The study was conducted in two steps: First, the Pilot Study was conducted on 5 male undergraduates. A test was designed which consisted of 6 questions: Translation questions in both directions, fill in the blank questions to test the learner's competence of Auxiliaries and Main Verb forms. They were motivated to tell the reasons for their answers.
In the light of contrastive analysis, and learners' answers, the reasons for the Errors were collected and organized into 10 main groups, and around 50 sub-groups. This classification of Errors provided us with the basic understanding of the reasons behind them. In the light of the results of the Pilot study, the Test was modified and reduced to one Main and one supporting part, questions 7 and 8. The main part consisted of 48 sentences, 4 for every tense: 1 Affirmative, 1 Negative, 1 Polarity question, 1 Wh question. 25 male students of BA class were selected for the test and interview. Of 728 Errors 342 were Tense-related. 131 Errors could not be classified because of lack of evidence. 339 answers were correct, and 184 were not attempted. The main reasons discovered were faulty Inter-lingual Correlations, and faulty combinations (termed in this work as Mental Associations).
The present study reviews the concept of Overgeneralization describes it. It explains the reasons for such frequent errors as *`did not going', *`are go' and so on. Sometimes, the combination 'did not' sticks too fast to the learner's mind, and he extends it to the negative sentences of every tense. So is the case with * 'are come'. Similar confusions arise in Polarity Interrogatives where learners associate the process of question making with a particular Auxiliary and extend it to all the tenses. In this way, various reasons of learners' confusion were collected and classified. The study also suggests remedies of the problems.