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SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2011-034

Indicators of Bilingual Proficiency in Nepali Among Tibeto-Burman Peoples of Nepal

Author  Webster, Jeffrey David
Abstract  The myth of bilingualism suggests that everyone in Nepal is fluent in Nepali; however, this study shows large segments of the Tibeto-Burman population are only minimally proficient in speaking and understanding Nepali. This thesis presents data on bilingual proficiency collected in 1992 and 1993 from speakers in seven different Tibeto-Burman ethnolinguistic groups in rural Nepal. Over five hundred subjects were tested, using sentence repetition tests. These data are correlated with demographic variables to show the significant indicators of Nepali proficiency among the target populations. The results show that only well-educated subjects are comparably proficient with mother-tongue Nepali speakers. Because the same demographic factors in different areas produce parallel patterns of second-language proficiency, the most significant factors can comprise a model to substantially predict Nepali bilingualism. Based on extensive field data, these results provide a powerful tool for language policy and planning in Nepal.
  Indicators of Bilingual Proficiency in Nepali Among Tibeto-Burman Peoples of Nepal
Published  2011
Country  Nepal
Subjects  Language surveys
Sociolinguistics
Keywords  Language surveys