Identity Construction and Ideological Reproduction of the Secondary English Language Textbooks in Bangladesh
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 7, Issue 6, November 2019, Pages: 302-314
Received: Oct. 17, 2019; Accepted: Nov. 5, 2019; Published: Nov. 8, 2019
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Jia Li, School of Foreign Languages, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
Wei Duan, School of Foreign Languages, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
Juan Dong, School of Foreign Languages, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
Sagred al Miskat Sharif, School of International Education, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
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Foreign language textbooks play an important role in shaping learners’ awareness of cultural diversity and ideological orientation. This study evaluates four English textbooks English for Today for Bangladeshi students of Junior Secondary level from Class Six to Class Ten. Data were collected from images, reading passages and dialogues of the textbooks. Following the theory of language ideology, the study examines the identity options and ideological representations in the English textbooks. Findings indicate that there are two different communities constructed by Bangladeshi characters and foreign characters in terms of gender, occupation, ethnicity and nationality; findings reveal that the identity option of Bangladeshi characters is diverse ranging from upper/middle class to low class whereas foreign characters are exclusively constructed as white/Anglophone holding decent jobs and having middle class background. Findings also show that the cultural representation of Bangladesh is dominated by the linguistic nationalism of speaking Bangla and following Bangladeshi practices as cultural norm while othering and even stigmatizing minority cultures. When representing foreign cultural practices, British-centered knowledge is produced as norm and Anglophones as ideal English speakers, and English is constructed as panacea for getting good jobs and communicating with people worldwide. Based on the findings, we argue that the white/Anglophone-centered ideology and homogenous representation of Bangladeshi culture are the reproduction of hierarchical differences structured in the postcolonial regiment. We also argue that highlighting Bangladeshi women’s social achievement and minimizing the representation of Muslim practices are mediated in the wider process of socioeconomic transformation of turning Bangladesh into a world factory with sufficient human resources and little religious disturbance. This study has implications for designing foreign language textbooks and it suggests that more diversified practices from source and foreign cultures should be included in the textbooks to cultivate learners’ cultural awareness and appreciation of cultural differences on an equal basis.
English Textbooks, Bangladesh, English, Culture, Ideology
To cite this article
Jia Li, Wei Duan, Juan Dong, Sagred al Miskat Sharif, Identity Construction and Ideological Reproduction of the Secondary English Language Textbooks in Bangladesh, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 7, No. 6, 2019, pp. 302-314. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20190706.18
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