Jammu and Kashmir, India .
Butterfly sweet Butterfly
Do stop a little Butterfly
Your tiny wings do flutter so
that I wouldn’t like to let you go
Who painted such lovely hues
On your wee little wings profuse
Who taught you to flutter away so high
that I can’t catch you never can I
come here here I have blossoms fine
You can encomfort daily dine
Butterfly sweet Butterfly
Do stop a Little Butterfly
Jo Manjooran Sharma
From a Mother to her Kids
Age group 6+years
M.A. English , Mysore University
Project Director –
Deepalya PLAN New Delhi
68 yrs Old
A decedent of the Nimboothri clan of Kerela and the first converts to christianity by St. Thomas 2000 yrs ago – THE MANJOORANS who were sent off to the VIPIN islands .
Posted by her daughter Nidhi Sharma
Assistant Professor in English
T.R.P.G. Girls College, Sonipat
English Language Teaching (ELT) can be broadly divided into English for General Purpose (EGP) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP). The teaching of English language at schools, colleges and Universities comes under English for General Purposes. ESP is meant for Occupational Purpose (EOP), English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Science and technology (EST). In the rapidly changing present world when teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has grown to become one of the most prominent areas of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL), ESP practitioners face new opportunities and challenges. For non-English speakers the ability to speak more than one language (English along with the Mother Tongue) become imperative to assess the language abilities of second language learners. In the classroom, assessment can be seen as an ongoing process, in which the teacher uses various tools to measure the progress of the learners. Among those tools are portfolios, self-assessment, and, of course, tests. If assessment can be seen as a movie, since it is a continuous process, then a test is a still photographs; it gives a picture of the learner’s language at a particular point in time. If used properly, these tools can help the teacher develop a full picture of the learner’s progress. It is important to note that all type of testing and assessment are important in gathering information about student’s abilities.
Rhetorical, pedagogically, methodology, disseminate, restricted, and sophisticated.
Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters (1987: 53) have pointed out the differences between English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and English for General Purposes (EGP) in their book, English for Specific Purposes: A Learning Centred Approach.
On the face of it, ESP differs from EGP in the sense that the vocabulary, structures and the subject matter relate to a particular field or discipline in the former. For example, a lawyer writing a brief, or a diplomat preparing a policy paper needs his jargon, ESP courses make use of vocabulary and tasks related to the specific field that one belongs to. So a course in ESP is designed to meet the specific professional or academic needs of the learner, creating a balance between educational theory and practical considerations. English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course, however, has instruction that builds on EGP and is designed to prepare the students for the English used in specific disciplines, vocations or professions to accomplish some specific purposes. ESP makes use of the methodology and activities of the discipline it serves, and is centered on the language appropriate to these activities. As Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters rightly put it. “ESP is an approach to language teaching in which all decisions as to content and method are based on the learner’s reason for learning “(1987:19).
In this connection, it is interesting to note Tony Dudley-Evans (1987: 1-9) explanation that ESP may not always focus on the language of one specific discipline or occupation, such as English for Law or English for Physics. University instruction that introduces students to common features of academic discourse in Sciences or Humanities, is frequently called English for Academic Purposes. (EAP) is also ESP.
DEFINITION OF ESP
Peter Strevens (1988-1-13) definition makes a distinction between four absolute and two variables characteristics.
- Absolute Characteristic
ESP consists of English language teaching which is:
- Designed to meet specified needs of the learner:
- Related in content (i.e. in its themes and topics) to particular disciplines, occupation and activities.
- Centered on the language appropriate to those activities in syntax, lexis , discourse semantics, etc and analysis of this discourse;
- In contrast with General English.
- Variable Characteristics:
ESP may be, but is not necessarily.
- Restricted as to the language skills to be learned )e.g. reading only);
- Not taught according to any pre-ordained methodology.
THE MEANING OF THE WORD “SPECIFIC “ IN ESP.
THE MEANING OF THE WORD “SPECIFIC’ IN ESP
The word “specific” in ESP refers to “specific in language” and “specific in aim”. A simple clarification that can be made here is “specific in language” and “specific in aim” are viewed as similar concepts although they are two entirely different notions. George Perren (1974) noted that confusion arises over these two notions. Ronald Mackay, and Alan Mountford (1978: 4) have stated that the only practical way in which we can understand the notion of specific language is as a restricted repertoire of words and expressions selected from the whole language because that restricted repertoire covers every requirement within a well defined context, task or vocation. On the other hand “specific in aim” refers to the purpose for which the learners learn a language, not the nature of the language they learn. Consequently, the focus of the word “specific” is ESP is on the purpose for which the learners learn and not on the specific jargon or registers they learn. As such, all instances of language learning might be considered ESP.
ORIGIN OF ESP
Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters (1987: 6-8) succinctly identified three key reasons that are common , to the emergence of all ESP; the demands of a Brave New World, a revolution in linguistics and the focus on the learner. They noted that two key historical periods breathed life into ESP. First, the end of the Second World War brought with it an age of enormous and unprecedented expansion in scientific, technical and economic activity on an international scale. For various reasons, most notably the economic power and technological advancement of the United States in the Post-War World Scenario, English has become an important language for global affairs. Secondly, the oil crisis of the early 1970s resulted in Western money and knowledge flowing into the oil-rich countries. The medium of this knowledge has been English. The general effect of all this development is to exert pressure on the language teaching profession to deliver the required goods.
TYPE OF ESP
David Carver (1983: 131-137) identified three types of ESP, English as a Restricted Language (ERL). English for Academic and Occupational Purpose (EAOP), and English with Specific Topics (EST). The language used by air traffic controllers or waiters are example of English as a restricted language.
Ronal Mackay and Alan Mountford clearly illustrate the difference between the restricted language and the language with this statement (1978: 4-5).
The language of international air-traffic control could be regarded as ‘special’ in the sense that the repertoire required by the controller is strictly limited and can be accurately determined situationally, as might be the linguistic needs of a Dining-room waiter or air-hostess. However, such restricted repertoires are not language just as tourist phrase book is not grammar. Knowing a restricted ‘language’ would not allow the speaker to communicate effectively in a novel situation, or in contexts outside the vocational environment (1978: 4-5).
The second type of ESP is English for Academic and Occupational Purposes. David Carver 1983: 131-137) indicates that this English should be at the heart of ESP although he refrains from developing it any further. Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters (1987: 16-18) on the other hand have developed a “Tree of ELT” in which the subdivisions of ESP are clearly illustrated. ESP is broken down into three branches. English for Science and Technology (EST), English for Business and Economics (EBE), and English for Social Studies (ESS). Each of these subject areas is further divided into two branches. English for Academic Purpose (EAP) and English for Occupational Purpose (EOP). An Example of EOP for the EST branch is “English for Technicians” whereas an example of EAP for the EST branch is “English for Engineering Studies.”
CHARACTERISTICS OF ESP COURSES
The characteristics of ESP courses identified by David G. Carter (1981: 167) and discussed here. He states that there are three features common to ESP courses.
(a) Authentic Materials;
(b) Purpose-Related Orientation; and
These features of ESP courses are indeed useful in attempting to formulate one’s own understanding of ESP. If one revisits Tony Dudley-Evams (1998: 8-29) ) claim that ESP should be offered at an intermediate or advanced level, the use of Authentic Learning Materials is entirely feasible. The use of authentic content materials, modified or unmodified inform, is indeed a feature of ESP, particularly in self-directed study and research task. For Language Preparation, For Employment in Science and Technology, a large component of the student evaluation is based on an independent study of assignment in which the learners are required to investigate and present an area of interest. The students are encouraged to conduct research using a variety of different resources, including the Internet.
FORMULATION OF APPROACHES TO ESP
The approaches in ESP are formulated on the basis of five conceptions in ESP, John Malcolm Swakes (1990) uses the term “enduring conceptions” to refer to the following:
- Research –Base
- Learning Methodology
The main consideration in ESP according to Bernard Coffey (1984) is that of authenticity. It includes authentic texts and authentic tasks. Swales, in explaining what is meant by the research-base of ESP , reviews the ESP literature and observes a trends towards papers that they rely on some kind of data-based (textual or otherwise). In addition, Peter Strevens () 1980: 105-121) alludes to the importance of the “specific language” of ESP in Functional English’s’. That is, only those items of vocabulary, pattern of grammar, and functions of language which are required by the learner’s purposes are included in ESP. Peter Strevens also alludes to the importance of learner in discussions of ESP. Finally, ESP draws on the methodology or learning theories which are appropriate to the learning teaching situation. In other words, Specific Purpose Language Teaching (SPLT) is not in itself a methodology. According to Peter Strevens (1988: 39-44) this characteristic of ESP makes the materials both more relevant and more interesting to the student due to the varied and ingenious exploitation of opportunities provided by ESP Settings. These five conceptions have dual and potentially origins in both the real world (the “target situation” of the ESP pedagogy. It is therefore crucial to discuss each of them in an attempt to survey the development and directions of ESP as it has evolved. Such a survey will identify five major approaches to ESP, each of which has focused on one of the major conceptions and thus contributed to the growth of ESP itself. However, it is also evident that as each approach to ESP has evolved: its particular enduring conception has also evolved, bring ESP practitioners towards their current thinking in each of the five areas.
The five major approaches to ESP are:
- Skills-Based Approach
- Register Analysis Approach
- Discourse Analysis Approach.
- Learning – Centered Approach
- Communicative Approach
Sill-Based Approach to ESP has enlarged the conception of authority in two principal ways. First, authenticity of text is both broadened to include texts other than written texts and narrowed to differentiate between different types of texts generated by each skill.
The second conception is that of the Register Analysis Approach. It has developed out of the need for a research based for ESP, Michael A.K. Halliday, Amos McIntosh and Peter Strevens (1964: 266) are the first scholars who have pointed out the importance of, and the need for, a research base for ESP, set out in one of the earliest discussion of ESP.
The reaction against Register Analysis is the early 1970s concentrated on the concept of text rather than thus the lexical and grammatical properties of register. The approach is clearly set out by two of its principal advocates. Allen and Widdowson as follows:
One might usefully distinguish two kinds of ability which an English course of ESP level should aim at developing. The first is the ability to recognize how sentences are used in the performance of acts of communication, or the ability to understand the rhetorical functioning of language in use. The second is the ability to recognize and manipulate the formal devices which are used to combine sentences to create continuous passage of prose. One might say that the first has to do with rhetorical coherence of discourse, the second with the grammatical cohesion of text (1974.
The attention to strategy analysis give rise to new generation of ESP materials which is founded as much on conceptions of learning as one conceptions of language or conceptions of need. As Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters (1987: 14) have rightly put it.
Our concern in ESP was no longer with language use although this would help to define the course of objectives. The concern was rather with language learning. We cannot simply assume that describing and exemplifying what people do with language would enable someone to learn it…… A truly valid approach to ESP would be based on an understanding of the processes of language learning (1987: 14).
Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters called this approach the Learning-Centered Approach and stressed the importance of a lively, interesting and relevant learning teach style in ESP materials. The first ESP materials to adopt a conscious model of learning were probably those of the Malaysian UMEPP Project in the late 1970s. The approach has received its widest publicity in the papers and materials of Hutchinson and Waters, and more recently, Mary Waters and Alan Waters (1992: 264-273)
The recent approach that emerges from the concept of authenticity in the development of ESP is that of Communicative Approach. The first generation of ESP materials that appeared in the mid-1960s took skills as their principal means of selection, arguing that ESP teaching materials. The definition of skill is somewhat broad, establishing little more than the ranking of the four usual language skills of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking (LSRW). Almost all materials course of collection of specialist texts with accompanying comprehension and language exercises. As R.A. Close (1972) rightly argues that the conception of authenticity is central to the approach taken to develop language skills.
In the rapidly changing present world when teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has grown to become one of most prominent areas of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL), ESP practitioners face new opportunities and new challenges. For non-English speakers the ability to speak more than one language (English along with the Mother tongue) become imperative to assess the language abilities of second language learners. In the classroom, assessment can be seen as an ongoing process, in which the teacher uses various tools to measure the progress of the learners. Among those tools are portfolios, self-assessment, and, of course tests. If assessment can be seen as a movie, since it is a continuous process, then a test is a still photographs; it gives a picture of learner’s language at a particular point in time. If used properly, these tools can help the teacher develop a full picture of the learner’s progress. It is important to note that all types of testing and assessment are important in gathering information about student’s abilities.
THE NEED FOR RESEARCH ESP TESTING
The rapid expansion in ESP teaching is not accompanied by a similar increase in EST testing. Perhaps, the earliest attempts at testing ESP date back to the time when the ELTS were launched. At that time, in 1980, there had been little or no research into the validity of giving academic English proficiency tests based on different subject areas. John Charles Alderson (1981) in a discussion on ESP testing questioned many of the principles behind this approach. He agreed that since different University Departments placed different demands on their students, there are some good arguments for including ESP tests in an ESP test battery. He felt that a comparison between performance on academically specific tests and the communicative needs of the relevant area might provide useful diagnostic information. He also accepted that ESP tests would have really high face validity for both content-area students and University Lecturers. However, he questioned whether it was possible to produce a test which would be equally suitable for students in all branches of a discipline. For example, he wondered whether it would be possible to have a test for Engineers and whether they would have the same level of appropriacy for all Engineers, regardless of their specialization. This highlights one of the main difficulties with English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) testing.
Another difficulty with ESP tests is delineated in Alderson’s question “How specific is specific?” (1981). Since at that time it is usually impossible to give each student a test which is tailor-made for unique set of circumstances, any ESP test has to be a compromise; and, in case of EAP , where many disciplines would be considered less than one broad subject area. These areas would cover so wide a field that some students would not fit into any of the groupings. John Charles Alderson (1981: 133) cited the example of a student in urban studies who would not know whether to choose a test in science or in social studies.
Over the past two decades, there have been several studies on the testing approval to be employed to test English proficiency. Three articles by John Charles Alderson and Alexander Hugh Urquhart (1983) aroused considerable interest and led to several follow-up studies. These articles described three studies carried out with students attending English classes in Britain in preparation for British Universities.
In each. John Charles Alderson and Alexander Hugh Urquhart (1982: 192-204) compared students scores on reading texts related to their own field of study with those on texts in other subject areas. The student’s scores on the modules were found to be somewhat contradictory. On one hand, for example, science and Engineering students taking the technology module of IELTS were found to be facing better than the Business and Economics students as well as the Humanities students, who took the same test. On the other hand, the Business and Economics Students fared no better than the Science and Engineering group on the Social Studies module. Alderson and Urquhart conclude that background knowledge has some effect on test scores, but that is not always consistent, and that their future studies should take into account linguistic proficiency and other factors as well.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES.
T he present study is an attempt at answering a few question that pertain to the student’s performance on LSRW skills in ESP (English Language for Specific Purpose) contexts. The objective of the investigation can be expressed in the following research question:
- What are the student’s needs to learn Technical English keeping inn view the global context.
- Is there a correlation existing between the learner’s need and the syllabus which is being used to teach Technical English?
- What is the significance of the existing syllabus and is there is there a need for significant change?
- What is the role of ESP course designer and materials producer in this context?
All these questions can be answered in terms of the following hypotheses.
H1 Majority of the students will have stronger needs for learning Technical English given to the global context.
H2 There has been a negative correlation between the syllabus and the learner’s needs.
H3 The change required in the existing syllabus are hence utmost significance.
H4 The role of the curriculum developer in an age of enormous and unprecedented expansion in scientific and technical knowledge is crucial to language – learning.
Education at present has recognized the need for making use of the latest technology for better results. This could be seen for making use of the latest technology for better results. This could be seen in the introduction of the language labs in the Engineering Colleges to impart various language and allied skills to the prospective profession also. Still, it is the textbook which is supposed to carry on the aims and objectives of the syllabi. Hence a critical appraisal of the textbooks used in different Universities becomes imperative.
THE ROLE OF TEXTBOOK IN THE ENGLISH CLASSROOM
English language instruction has many important components but the essential constituents in many English classrooms and programmers are the textbooks and instruction materials that are often used by language instructors.
As Tom Hutchinson and Ennice Torrers suggest;
The textbook is an almost universal element of (English Language) teaching. Millions of copies are sold every year, and numerous aids projects have been set up to produce them in various countries. No teaching-learning situation, it seems, is complete until it has its relevant textbook (1994: 315)
IMPORTANCE OF TEXT ANALYSIS
Although handling the text in the classroom is time-consuming, text responses complement the data, providing more varied and detailed information about what respondents think, feel, and do. Text analysis for Surveys is that it gives the ability to analyses respondent’s attitude and opinions. As a result, one gains a clearer understanding of what the pupils likes or doesn’t like and why. When one understands what people think and feel in their own words, one can draw more reliable conclusions about their future behavior and use that predictive insight to meet needs more successfully.
Text analysis is an interactive process enabling the teacher to know the major themes grasped by respondents, and also know how many respondents could mention at least one theme, whereby an insight into respondent’s belief, attitudes, or behaviors can be obtained. When one works with the survey responses, one is likely to re-extract concepts and re-categorize responses using different category definitions or coding schemes, different terms or synonym definitions or different grouping of responses. One may repeat this process several times before one is satisfied with the results
PURPOSE OF A TEXTBOOK
A textbook is defined as a book used as a standard work for the students of a particular subject. It is usually written specifically for a particular purpose, as a manual of instruction in any branch of study, especially as a work organized by scholars who usually have taught courses on the subject/s dealt with in a particular textbook.
TOOL USED FOR TEXT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL SCIENCES.
Researcher usually use two types of investigation processes. First is quantitative research, which employs numerical indicators to ascertain the relative size of a particular communication phenomenon. The second type of investigation process is qualitative research, which employs symbols and words to indicate the presence or absence of phenomena or top categorize them into different types. Quantitative and qualitative observations provide researchers with different ways of operationalizing and measuring theoretical constructs and practical concepts. While quantitative methods can provide a high level of measurement precision and statistical power, qualitative methods can supply a greater depth of information about the nature of communication processes in a particular research setting.
FEATURE OF QUANTITATIVE METHOD
As Gareth Margon and Linda Simircich (1994: 315) state, the functional or positivist paradigm that guides the quantitative mode of inquiry is based on the assumption that social reality has an objective ontological structure and that individuals are responding agents to this objective environment. As Catherine Cassell and Gillian Symon (1988: 237) have rightly put it in their article, the assumption behind the positivist paradigm is that there is an objective truth existing in the world that can be measured and explained scientifically. The main concern of the quantitative paradigm are that measurement is reliable, valid and generalizable in its clear prediction of cause and effect. In this connection, Mary John Smith (1998) in his book Contemporary Communication Research Method mentions quantitative research involves counting and measuring of events and performing the statistical analysis of a body of numerical data.
The strengths of the quantitative method can be enumerates as follows:
- According to Chava Frankfort-Nachmais and David Nachimias, the main strength of the quantitative method is stating the research problem is very specific and set terms;
- Clear and precise specification of both the independent and the dependent variables under investigation;
- Can follow firmly the original set of research goals, arrive at more objective conclusions, test hypothesis and determine the issues of causality:
- In the words of Howard Llord Balsley, achieving high levels of reliability of gathered data through controlled observations, laboratory experiments, mass surveys, or other form of research manipulations are possible in this method;
- Eliminating or minimizing subjectivity of judgment is another important strength, as mentioned by Daniel Kealey and David Protheroe;
- Allow for longitudinal measures of subsequent performance of research subjects.
WEAKNESSES OF QUANTITATIVE METHOD
The weaknesses of the quantitative method are also noteworthy:
- Fails to provide the researcher with in depth information on the context of the situation where the studied phenomenon occurs;
- Lack of much control the environment where the respondents provide the answers to the questions in the survey;
- Outcomes are limited to only those outlined in the original research proposal due to closed type questions and the structured format;
- Does not encourage the evolving and continuous investigation of a research phenomenon.
The present research, however, has employed both the methods; hence it has benefitted from the strength both these methods and tried to overcome for limitations.
FEATURES OF QUALITATIVE METHOD
As Gareth Morgan (1980 491-500) states, qualitative research shares the theoretical assumption of the interpretative paradigm, which is based on the notion that social reality is created and sustained through the subjective experience of people involved in communication. In this connection David Fryer throws more light on qualitative research. They are concerned in their research with attempting to accurately describe, decode and interpret the meaning of phenomena occurring in their normal social contexts. Further he extends his statement to say that the researchers operating within the frame work of the interpretative paradigm are focused in investigating the complexity, authenticity, contextualization, shared subjectively of the researcher and the researched, and minimization of assumption (1991: 3-6)
STRENGTH OF QUALITATIVEW METHOD
The strengths of the qualitative method are as follows:
- Obtain a more realistic feel of the world that cannot be experienced in the numerical data and statistical analysis used in quantitative research;
- Possess flexible ways to perform data collection, subsequent analysis and interpretation of collected information.
- Robert Bogdan and Steven J Taylor provide a holistic view of the phenomena under investigation in their book Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (1975);
- Able to interact with the research subjects in their own language and on their own terms as stated by Jerome Kirk and Mare Miller;
- Has descriptive capability based on primary and unstructured data.
WEAKNESSES OF QUALITATIVE METHOD
- Departs from the original objectives of the research in response to the changing nature of the context, as stated by Catherine Cassal and Gillian symon;
- Arrives at different conclusions based on the same information depending on the personal characteristics of the researcher;
- Not up to the work in investing causality between different research phenomena;
- Has difficulty in explaining the difference in the quality and quantity of information obtained from different respondents and arrives at different , non consistent conclusions;
- Requires a high level of experience from the researcher to obtain the targeted information from the respondents;
- Lacks consistency and reliability because the researcher can employ different probing techniques and the respondent can choose to answer only a few queries and ignore others.
QUANTITAIVE VERSUS QUALITATIVE TEXT ANALYSIS
As William Paul Vogt (1993: 1993 183-184) has opined there are two ways in which the social scientists distinguish quantitative from qualitative analyses. On the one hand, qualitative analyses can be differentiated from quantitative analyses according to the level of measurement of the variables being analyzed. Gilbert Shapiro and John Mark off (1977)argue, for example , that indiscriminate use of this quantitative – qualitative distinction has often resulted in the label, qualitative content analysis , being not only aptly applied to rigorous analyses of categorical data but also inappropriately applied to haphazard ( and thus unscientific) analyses of such data. On the other hand, social scientist also distinguish their methods of quantitative or qualitative. In this connection, it is interesting to note Berg’s explanation on quantitative methods, which is more deductive, statistical, and confirmatory, qualitative methods are more inductive, non statistical and exploratory. It i9s only according to this latter distinction that quantitative text analysis has been applied to this study (1995: 2-4)
The present study has employed both quantitative and qualitative methods, endeavoring to use the strengths of each method. While the quantitative method helped the research to involve a good number of subjects and the various aspects of English Teaching in the Universities selected for study, the qualitative method has allowed the researcher to make an in-depth analysis of the responses of the subjects. I has also been observed that the targets group turned out to be a suitable subject for qualitative analysis as they hail from professional colleges. They displayed a keen perception on the strengths and weaknesses of their system and provided the researcher a sharp analysis of various aspects of the teaching of English in their colleges.
Keeping in view, the strengths and weaknesses of the quantitative and qualitative methods, a questionnaire was prepared, and the opinion of the students was obtained. The questionnaire contains questions related to their parental background, the Board of Examination through which they had taken their school leaving certificates, etc. Students were asked to express their views on textbooks prescribed for study in terms of content, form, presentation and other aspects such as grammar and the four skills important they need.
Therefore, any thesis does not stop at the point of being mere critique of the status quo; in addition to critiquing the existing scenario of teaching Technical English at Professional level, the thesis also makes a modest attempt at suggesting measures in the last chapter to better the status quo. The suggested measures are based not on the theoretical speculation but on practical experience and the prolonged experiments and evaluation conducted for the technical students at Acharya Nagarjuna University College of Engineering and Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (Kakinada), Koneru Lakshmaiah University and Vignan University, Guntur.
- Carson , J.E 1994. Reading –Writing connections: Towards a Description for Second Language Learners in ‘Second Language Writing’. Edited by Barbara Kroll.cup.pp. 88-107.
- Stotsky .S.1983. Research on Reading –Writing Relationships: A synthesis and suggested directions. In ‘Language Arts’, 60, 627-642.
- Anthony, Laurence, 1997. ESP. What does it mean? Retrieved from http://interserver.miyazaki-med ac.JP/-cue/PC/anthony.htm on April 6, 2000.
- ‘The sociolinguistic context of English language teaching in India’ in Shirin, Kudchedkar (Ed.) reading in English language teaching in India, Chennai: Orient Longman, PP. 37-66.
- Foreigners and Foreign languages in India: A sociolinguistic history. New Delhi : Foundation Books (Cambridge University, press, )
- Daniel, S.P.2012, An Indian Experiment of English for specific Purposes (ESP), English language teaching in India: the shifting Paradigm. New Delhi Tata MC-Grow Hills, PP. 119-125.
- Dudley Evans, T. and Jo St. John M.1998. Developments in English for specific purposes. Cup.
- Kavaliaus kiene, G. Role of Self-correction in learning ESP ‘English for Specific purposes world’, Web-based Journal, Issue 2(5), Volume 2, 2003, 8 Pages.
Dr. Savita, W/o Shakti Singh, Mobile No. 9416811500
House No. 217/26,
West Ram Nagar, Sonipat.
Stanley Somtochukwu Ebede, CNP, MA.
School of Kinesiology, Allied Health and Human Services
University of Northern Iowa, USA
203 Wellness and Recreation Center, Cedar Falls IA 50614
The study of discourse techniques in African written literature not just limited to poetry is a crucial and important area of study in the fields of academic as literature is becoming more indigenized and localized to suit author’s environment, language and culture and world view in multi-language society. The purpose of this study is to perform a detailed analysis of discourse techniques used in African poetry specifically examining the techniques used in two African literary works: Chants of Despair authored by Ngozi’s Chuma Udeh (2010) and Omeile Vol one authored by Asika Ikechukwu (2011) The study examines the use of language, proverbs, code mixing and code switching, and even nature names used. Furthermore, the findings will highlight some hidden and unfamiliar meaning as well as providing a clear-cut and detailed discussion of some of the discourse techniques that might enable individuals to understand and interpret the message in African poetry and other genres of literature. Generally, this study will provide techniques for analysis of some hidden thematic issues, critical and scholarly review of literature as well as paving way for future studies.
African, Discourse Techniques, Literature, Poet, Poetry
For African authors to be well understood, the need to understand their language, culture and worldview become necessary. This is where discourse techniques play crucial roles in the understanding and interpretation of the indigenized works of art that reflect on the African aliment. Discourse techniques help to unveil and unfold hidden meanings in the works of art and literature. The role of poetry in society can never be over emphasizes neither will its study and interpretation be exhausted. African authors are greatly influenced by the social, cultural economic, religious as well as political happenings in societies. According to Ofoegbu (2012), discourse techniques refers to the language techniques used by authors to achieve an aim in a given piece and it is considered as the language of the writer in a work of literature. According to the author, these discourse techniques include (1) use of language, (2) local idioms, (3) proverbs, (5) code mixing and code switching, (6) unfamiliar terms and comic expressions, (6) transliteration and (7) use of nature names. The written literature we know today which consists of three genres of literature including poetry, drama and prose are part of the western acclimatization as a result of colonization and acquisition of the western education. The art of writing and literacy are part of African colonial heritage and Africans have over the time explored this gain of written literature to express the social –political, as well as economic realities around them. There was a great need for African literature through a colonial legacy to speak in African voice and these are part of the obvious reason that trigger African writers to search inwards for that which will help to elevate their literature and mark it out from the rest of literature produced in all parts of the world.
Olateju (1998) posits that discourse techniques are used to describe activities and various disciplines and human endeavors such as socio-linguistics, psycholinguistics, philosophical linguistics, computational linguistics and education. The analysis of discourse techniques in any work of art is very important. Style is the manner of linguistic expression in prose or verse and it is how a speaker or writer says things. The characteristic style of a work or a writer may be analyzed in terms of its diction, the sentence structure and its syntax (Abrams & Hogg, 1990). The concreteness of the details chosen, the diction, the images and figures of speech contributes to the meaning of a literary work (Nwoga, 1981).
African authors have to turn the oral tradition, folktale materials and other social-cultural elements around them to express themselves in a unique way; to speak in the typical voice of their people in such an artistic manner in which the quality of the message of their writing is not lost to the outside reader. The best African today is the writer who blends and experiments with traditional passion of his people and should make such sense to the outside world. The word ‘writing’ is clarified not simply to mean the graphic notation of language, but to include the unpleasant distinctions of language that are derived from an intricate historical intertextual process within which an utterance or a text is situated (Akingbe, 2014). This is what we witnessed in the works of many authors including the two volumes of poetry; Chants of Despair and Omeile Vol 1 by Ngozi Chuma-Udeh and Asika Ikechukwu respectively which are the main focus in this study. The scope of this study is limited to the works of these African poets (Nigerian poets). Both poets are from the eastern part of Nigeria.
Asika (2011a) asserted that authors play a prominent and significant role in the social-reeducation, re-orientation, and re-direction of their societies. Literature functions and help to shape one’s attitudes and lifestyle. Poetry though one of the earliest genres of literature seems to be the most dreaded of all other. Abada and Ezenwa (2009) explored poetry from several related dimensions. The authors asserted that some people have considered poetry from the point of view of rhythmic articulation. Poetry has become one of the variable tools ad writers articulates their perceptions and beliefs as it affects the society (Chukwueloka, 2011). Authors are greatly influenced by the social, cultural economic, religious as well as political situations in the society. In search of the message of authors hidden in symbols and languages, we attempt a study of discourse techniques in the works of two selected poets and their collections (Omeile and Chants of Despair).
DISCOURSE TECHNIQUES IN OMEILE VOL.1
Omeile is a poem that focused on the ranting, chants and travails of an uncivilized warrior Omeile, who has refused to accept the changes necessary in African’s modern era rather would hold tenaciously on his cherished and idealized views of the primitive and ways of life that is fast breaking. The poet makes his collection of poetry a master piece by his use of language, code mixing and code switching, figures of speech, transliteration, proverbs and these have a much desired appeal on both readers and critics alike.
- USE OF PROVERBS
Proverb as a discourse technique used in Omeile by Asika Ikechukwu aid the readers in understanding and appreciating the message of the poem and enhances them for a feeling of change in attitude. Ofoegbu (2012) posits that the use of proverb in Omeile are very strategic as they capture and bound a reader, leaving the person to wonder at the mastery and usage of proverbs by the poet. The author further suggested that the use of proverbs sometimes flow with the line of literary work because the writer structures them in such a way that one might think that the proverbs follow themselves. However, it is a discourse technique used by the writer to captivate the readers.
In Omeile, the first few proverbs used by the poet occurred when the main character Omeile summons and appeals to the spirit. In Asika (2011b), the proverbs read:
The mother goat knows on whose skin the drummer rattles (pg.8)
The leopard knows in his head whose skin adorns the shoulder of the of the mighty king (pg.8)
When the sound of the king’s tusk is heard, the elephant remembers the voice of the lone brother lost (pg.8)
See the little bird perching on the Ngige, is full of dance (pg.8)
The old woman never grows old in a dance that she knows in heart (pg.9)
The above proverbs used in the in the introductory part of the poem did not only warn the African people about the danger of abandoning their culture but on the dangers of colonialism and the loss of African culture. Omeile tries to tell the readers his knowledge of the tricks and cunnings of the white men who exploited African to build their own world of civilization and he tries to express all these in his heavily worded proverbs. The over-emotional proverbs exist to remind the African people about the beauty of traditional culture which they are at the very of abandoning totally. This is a culture that motivates and inspires him and he wishes us to see a culture as a traditional way of life. Another proverb reads:
Where a child cries and point, if the mother is not there, the father it (pg.10)
This proverb reinforces the seriousness of his message, for he knows why he is really crying about the loss of African traditional value. He believes that lack of culture robs ones his dignity and personality and that is what Omeile believes that happened to many Africans including himself. He used to be a warrior, but his marriage to Ekemma, a symbolism of his acceptance of civilization robbed him of all his warrior pose.
In the proverbs of Ikenga, another character in the poem, the poet recounts how we went wrong and how African culture was abandoned in pursuance of foreign culture in the name of modernism and civilization. Ikenga used the following proverbs:
Forward……forward is the movement of a monkey, once it jumps backwards, it will fall into the traps pf death (pg.13).
Remember it is the leaf that sweet a goat/that kills it (pg.14)
Omeile, the bush that detest the basket let it meet and produce mushrooms (pg.14)
He who wants to know all the Nso ala. Does he want to live in the sky? (pg.14)
Omeile, the hen that has a face should not lose its side gaze (pg.14)
The person whose elephantiasis of his scrotum is under cure, may his stomach not swell as well (pg.15).
The going of a war is not like the coming (pg.15)
The above proverbs were used by Ikenga to warn Omeile when they were going to war. Ikenga was warning him of his dignity and manhood. This is also a warning about Africans’ negligence which brought about civilization and how their acceptance of it reduces us to mere mortals chasing after culture that is not theirs. The poet used proverbs as a discourse technique to strategically give way to hidden meanings and add values to the ideas and views expressed by Omeile. This will enable the reader to see a reality of the gains and losses of civilization.
- USE OF CODE MIXING
The use of code mixing refers to the mixing of two or more language varieties in a discourse or sentence strings (Ofoegbu, 2012). In the poem, each line goes with the presence of code mixing. The use of code mixing enhances the work and the message intended. The blood nature words from the Igbo language present the reader with an environment of Igbo traditional scene. Code mixing was used to express specific ideas with specific terms.
I have a palm kernel smeared in Ukpaka and Mangala fish (pg.6)
Like the memories of Omarimma, my first love (pg.7)
Let the Yokiliyo sound be heard (pg.8)
We stood before the chief priest Ikenga, the great (pg.11)
I painted your eyelashes with Otengele dark as Indigo (pg.32)
May Amadioha… May Ngene… May Omaliko… (pg.63)
Let Ulasi… (pg.63)
It is all man for himself now, Onyenankenya (pg.84)
The use of code mixing in the above lines is very significant. The poet used code mixing as an escape hatch and as a means of expression of facts that Omeile is warrior caught in chains of civilization. The discourse techniques may not be peculiar to the poet alone. Ofoegbu (2012) asserted that code-mixing is the very foundation of Omeile because the names of the actors Omeile and Ekemma were also derived from Igbo Language. The author further stated that the poet would have gone for western names rather he chose to remain in Africa.
- DICTION AND PLACEMENT OF WORDS
The diction and placement of words in Omeile cannot be overlooked because they are very significant. Ofoegbu (2012) defines diction as an author’s choice of words while placement of words refers to the way an author arranges his words. The diction in Omeile is multidimensional because of the use of biblical passage as style of writing. For example
Land, fame, ventures and things of the world. It was there before we come; they still will remain rooted to the earth years after our voices are hushed (pg.26)
No sunshine ever hurts you during the day nor the terrifying rainfall in the night (pg.34)
Let this hour be his last, let no breath come again his lungs, let him be cursed and blinded to death, let him drink from the cup of their vengeance, let him die the death of a coward (pg.57)
The above lines look like that of the bible in the book of Ecclesiastes chap 1 vs 2 that talks about vanity upon vanity; Psalm 121 vs 6 that talks about “the sun will not harm you by day, nor moon by night”; and Psalm 109 vs 6-20. Omeile’s choice of words falls under the simple and everyday vocabulary. It is enclosed, concise and clear. The poet abided the use of high sounding and jaw breaking grammars.
The placement of words is done in such a way that meaning is not lost and the element of Igbo language is not lost too. The following are some of the examples used in the poem.
Ikenga stood before me, eyeball to eyeball we look (pg.13)
When gbalagbala goes excessive, it becomes madness (pg.14)
Red oil of blood (pg.15)
But the precious liquids form the eyes of the goddess (pg.28)
May your soul rest in peace (pg.54)
Like hinge beaten dogs, they are (pg. 59)
The aforementioned examples show how the poet puts certain words side by side thereby creating word pictures in the minds of his readers. As a descriptive writer, the poet describe Ekemma in Omeile just as Ofoegbu (2012) asserted that description is the habit of Omeile and it has helped in adding flavor to the boiling pot of poetry. In other words, diction and placement of words are one of the basic foundations in poetry writing.
DISCOURSE TECHNIQUES IN CHANTS OF DESPAIR
Chants of Despair is poetry collection where the author tries to draw people’s attention to the monumental abuse, injustice, and poverty glaring in the society. The collection focus on the action and inactions of the government who are supposed to better lots of the people but they end up amassing wealth, depositing millions of Naira in foreign accounts and spelling out poverty and doom on the entire civilization. Ujowundu (2011) conducted in the collection just as Ofoegbu (2012) did with Omeile. The study ranks among the pioneering efforts in interpreting the message that lay buried in the collection.
Ujonwundu (2011) asserted that Chants of Despair is a poem in three parts which portray the individuals’ frustration. Chuma Udeh, is just as angry as the older poets who have lived to satirize the society through their creature as the protest is not the end an expression of hate for humanity. The discourse techniques entail a wide range of ideas and patterns. They include the use of language and diction which boils down to choice of words and sentence pattern. The use of foregrounding of imagery, proverbs , code mixing and switching, figures of speech, direct transliteration, allusions and symbols among many others. No single study can be able to critically and meticulously examine all these because it can amount a textbook of his own. A research can only select aspects of these techniques for a detailed discussion. Other researchers with similar interest will pick up several other areas of these discourse techniques all geared toward a holistic understanding of the message in a given work of art. The use of language and the use of proverbs in Chants of Despair as part of discourse techniques will bring the message to limelight and serves as a key to unlocking hidden meanings and inter-textual materials in the poem.
- FOREGROUNDING OF IMAGERY AND USE OF LANGUAGE
Language is very essential to the understanding of any work of art and is a tool available for any writer. Authors use language in such a way that any serious minded reader will understand their message. Ofoegbu (2012) asserted that the use of language had remained a very important issue in the analysis of any discourse. Discourse involves language plus context according to some discourse analysts. It looks at how language can be used to achieve aims and objectives in human development.
Language is central to any work of art and can never be over emphasized. According to Umeh (1991), language is the medium for poetic utterances, the vehicle with which the poet transmits his message. The effectiveness or otherwise of this utterance of this message depends largely on the nature and quality of language used. In modern Nigeria, language has helped immensely in determining meaning sometimes. It has also helped to direct and clarify meaning while at other times language has helped to impede and distort meaning.
The poet’s success in her writing could attribute greatly to her use of language. She used language to give out message to the readers. She describes the level of poverty and actions of African leaders with passion and hatred. The port also used foregrounding of imagery to draw imageries so close to the forecourt of the readers. The following lines analyzed the argument.
I was named Despair not because my mother had the good grace to know the commonest of English syntax; nor because of the stabs of bleakness swarming around me like our ever present neighbors, the green eyed houseflies; not because of the reality of the stark is because of the abject scarcity which has become my dearest companion….my status has nothing to do with the genesis of my name (pg.3)
I was named Despair because when I was born beside the putrid, shaking gutters, behind our rat infested, rickety shanty. Where my mother had no choice than to function as both doctor and midwife put together, my mother’s strangled gnarls of pains, My mother’s helpless labor screeching attracted the hand of fate, as she labored aided by hordes of flies (pg.4)
I was named Despair because Ikoro spoke out of Revulsion. Ikoro spoke out of frustration. Ikoro spoke out of cheer disgust. Ikoro spoke from the depth of his very demented soul. Ikoro spoke from the very profundity of his frenzied psyche. Ikoro expostulated out of cheer antipathy for wickedness before him. Ikoro summed up the episode in the scene before him in a phrase, a phrase that clinched accurately my fate and that of my mother (pg.7).
…little did she not realized that some other woman, just a few kilometers apart; in our mosquito infested ghetto was at the same time undergoing the paroxysm of parturition near the putrid maggot sewer. With swarm of flies as the doctors on call and the rodents as ever dedicated nurse, waiting to devour the afterbirth and god help the baby if it comes hitting the head by the edge of the gutter (pg.17)
I tell you my brother, poverty is not a disease. Poverty is far from affliction. Poverty is not a lack or want …. Real poverty is a fate worse than cancerous virus. It gives no chance but eats up everything. It is worse than a corrosive acid. It devours a man and leaves him a weakling carcass. It makes a man a shadow thing (pg.11)
The above lines point out the picture of poverty, want, scarcity, suffering, and oppression and bring them closer to the reader. One can argue that so many poets can do this enhance the beauty of their work. Ujowundu (2011) asserted that the poet’s diction has rein structure as to reasons for naming her despair and the images portray depravity. Such expression as the stabs of bleakness swarming around. The images are so everlasting and real. One could feel and imagine how the stench odor and hordes of flies could become part of situation of poverty and suffering. The description of the environment portrays abject poverty and want. Even the absence of medical professionals all epitomizes helplessness and deprivation. These were made possible by the foregrounding of imagery and choice of words employed by the poet. The words “strangulate”, “gnarls of pain”, helpless labor screeching”, and hordes of flies” all expressed despair and decadent environment.
The poet with conscious and consistent use of language presents the living conditions of average citizens in Nigeria. The above words “revulsion”, “frustration”, and “disgust” are all expressions of anger disenchantment and frustration. The level of rise of imagery coincides with rise of anger in the voice and mind of the poet. In the poem, Ikoro is a picture of a wretched teacher who is highly intelligent but no money to justify his patriotism and excellence in knowledge. He is a stereotype of some forsaken teachers in Nigeria who languished slowly in various schools in rural areas. Poverty is being described with images of “mosquito infested ghetto”, “swarm of flies”, “rodents” and “gutter”. All lasting pictures of poverty and deprivation yields the message of the poem to the readers through the use of language.
- USE OF PROVERBS
Another discourse techniques commonly used in the poem is the use of proverbs. Proverbs were used in such a level that they become the backbone for the interpretation of the message of the poem. Proverbs did not give the poet an authenticity as an African poet but also helped and structured the pattern and flow of her poetic thoughts. Proverbs in this poem are so weaved together that one cannot easily separate the two elements (spoken words and proverbs).
Do not laugh yet at the old woman whose wrapper is torn at the bottom until you get to the root of her dilemma between her buttocks and the wrapper (pg. 1)
How can you attempt a guess of which fly is blind, when you have never cooked the garri paste? For if you want to know the fly that is blind in one eyes, seek the help of the woman who cooks ogiri (pg.2)
How do you master the walking gate of the man with sagging waist cloth when you have never suffered from testicles hernia? (pg.2)
Perhaps soul brother, you may not understand the anguish of being Despair. It is only he who ate the meat knows the exact tooth its piece were stuck into…..Only he who wears the ant-infested trouser knows the exact place of the bites (pg.9).
It does not matter how long the chicken angles for the corn in the covered basket, it yearns in vain….Even if the rat does a hundred maters dash around a pot covered with another, in vain does it toil (pg.26).
If you want to understand the language of the sand, seek the counsel of the arts….if you want to decipher the whispers of the wind, solicit for the interpretations from the leaves….If you want to speak the language of the cloud, do not hesitate to ask the birds….if you want to know the language of want, seek the true color of hunger….ask me (pg.37).
The use of some proverbs in a rhetorical form in the above lines captivates the reader to fully appreciate the message of the poem. These proverbs were series of warning, cautions, and appeals which allow us to put ourselves in the shoes of poor individuals. The poet narrated the suffering and excruciating situation of a woman giving birth which made Ikoro to exclaim after watching the sordid and heart touching scenario. The poet further suggested that we should feel the woman’s pain suffering on amidst of plenty. These proverbs recommended that we are yet to understand the level of poverty in Nigeria and yet this a country that has the capacity and economy to cater for the citizens. The rich are getting richer, the poor poorer and this boils down to inequality and uneven distribution of wealth in the society. The wide gap between the rich and the poor is glaring and no matter how much the poor strive, they can never escape the poverty level. This is what the poet expressed with the above proverbs, a situation we must rectify in the future. In conclusion, the poet used proverbs to bring the message closer to the reader and make her message more sensible and authentic.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
As earlier discussed and examined, poets are the voices of their societies. They project societal norms, ills, and evils which they hope to win freedom and redeem their societies through their artistic visions and creative ingenuities. Literature has become the most viable way through which poets and authors, in general, express their individual’s concerns, fears and worries about society and cast aspersions on several institutions of evil and vices. Through this means, they hope to achieve peace and harmony for societal growth. This is an idea that makes language an essential part of writers’ work of art to be better understand the composition, construction, sentence patterning, presentation of imageries, use of figurative expressions and handling of some native issues.
This study examined the use of proverbs is Asika Ikechukwu’s Omeile. There were many proverbs used in the poem were neither accidentally nor unconsciously used. One with a thorough mind or critical mind will discover how these proverbs were weaved into various segments of the poem in order to heighten effect and achieve a desired purpose by the poet. These proverbs were structured in such a way that they combine effectively with the works of the poet and glued together that one anticipates a lot action, suspense and other series of event at the mention of any proverbs. The proverbs are so structured and well-tailored that when removed from the context will remain lifeless. In Ngozi Chuma Udeh’s Chants of Despair, the poet used foregrounding of imagery to demonstrate her appalling for the failures of African leaders and politicians which has reduced the citizens to poverty by expressing her thoughts in such a way that one can feel the bitterness and disgusting ideas. In addition, the poet also structured proverbs to direct the flow of her poetic thoughts and used foregrounding of imagery and other discourse techniques to bring hidden meanings to limelight.
Conclusively, the discourse techniques used in this study will enable individuals to easily penetrate, bring out so many hidden meanings, and digest the truth in art as well as being mindful of discourse techniques that were used in other genres of literature. This study demonstrated how the use of language and techniques of good poetry provide us with an understanding of some hidden thematic issues in any given work of art. Furthermore, the discourse techniques used in this study revealed many hidden truth and highlights how these poets used poetry to better the lots of African society. Future research are recommended to explore and analyze more discourse techniques in works that outcross other cultures and background for a more productive conclusion.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Abada, J.O.J, & Ezenwa, O. (2009). The poet and national development: implications for African literature of the twenty first century. Owerri Nig: Living Flames Resources.
Akingbe, N. (2014). Speaking denunciation: satire as confrontation language in contemporary Nigerian poetry. Afrika Focus, 27, 47-67.
Asika, I. (2011). Consolidating emerging democracy in Africa: The artist and society in a crossroad of vision. International Bilingual Journal of Anti-Corruption, Law, Humanities, Social Sciences and Development Studies, 2(2).
Asika, I. (2011). Omeile Vol 1: Nigeria. First Class Publishers.
Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (1990). The context of discourse: let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Philosophical Psychology, 3(2-3), 219-225.
Chukwueloka, C. C. (2011). “Words as Bullets”, Poetry as a veritable tool for social criticism and reformation: A Study of Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo’s Heart Songs and Waiting for Dawn. African Research Review, 5(4).
Chuma-Udeh, N. (2010). Chants of Despair: Nigeria. First Class Publishers.
Ofoegbu, C. (2012). Discourse techniques in Asika Ikechukwu’s Omeile vol 4: Journal of Arts and Contemporary society.
Olateju, M. A. (1998). Discourse Analysis: Analyzing Discourse in the ESL Classroom. Lagos: Crossland Educational Services.
Nwoga, D. I. (1967). West African Verse. An Anthology. Chosen and Annotated by Donatus Ibe Nwoga. London.
Ujowundu, C. (2011). Poetry and Disenchantment: The role of fate in chants of despair. Journal of Association of Nigerian Authors, 1(2).
Umeh, O. (1991). Poetry and Social Reality: The Nigerian Experience. Benamax Publishers Limited.
Stanley S. Ebede is a doctoral student in the School of Kinesiology, Allied Health and Human Services (KAHHS). He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Leisure, Youth and Human Services from the University of Northern Iowa, USA. He co-authored the book Bugle Sounds for the Legend. His current research studies revolve around student involvement and development of skills. He is engaged with Friends at Home as a Resident Assistant. Previously, he was employed as the Assistant Director for STEM program at the University of Northern Iowa, USA.
Dr. Dilbag Singh Bisla
Chhotu Ram became a very popular advocate. He could also lead a luxurious life like many other advocates of his time. He could also amass wealth like many other politicians if he so desired. But legal practice and politics were for him a path of personal sacrifice and selfless service to the peasantry and downtrodden and not the pursuit of wealth, power and abuse of authority. During his student life, Chhotu Ram experienced the deepest punch of poverty and helplessness of rural people in general and of peasantry in particular. According to Chhotu Ram,. A Sanskrit couplet which he had read in Hitopdesh for the first time in his school in 1897 planted a sapling of his life mission i.e. improving the lot of the peasantry and downtrodden in his heart. The couplet says : “In ordinary course of nature thousands upon thousands are born everyday but he alone is truly born whose birth leads to the elevation of his race”. Thus leaving all personal considerations of his own and of his family for comforts, money and power; he directed all his time, energy, talent and labour towards the selfless and fearless service for the upliftment of longue tied, poverty stricken, debt laden peasantry and downtrodden and worked for secularism and oneness of the nation.
Chhotu Ram rightly saw in the anti-agriculturist and anti-labour policy of British rulers who also gave full protection to money-lenders and traders oftenly enlarging their net of exploitation. The irony was that though the producer of food was worst-affected, being squeezed and sucked by the trading community delivering kicks to their empty stomachs. According to Darling, “Bulk of the Punjab cultivators are born in debt, live in debt. And die in debt”.
Further illiteracy, frequent occurance of famines, traditional rainfed farming with small and fragmented fields as autumn leaves, ignorance and extravagance of cultivators on social customs, illegal extortion of money and high handedness of officials were more causes responsible for the pitiable condition of peasantry.
Sir Chhotu Ram fought for the emancipation of helpless peasantry and the downtrodden both inside the legislative and outside.
- Agrarian Acts. Excessive land revenue and rigidity in its collection was one of the main reasons for the distress and indebtedness of peasantry who had to sell not only their lands but also their cattle, ornaments and though not very often their daughters too in order to pay off their land revenue. The Punjab Land Revenue (amendment) Act. 1928 which got Governor General’s consent in Feb. 1929 provided substantial relief to all land owners big and small and also fixed 40 years as period of settlement. By 1938, the land revenue rates in Punjab was the lowest in the country as a whole. Another important legislation was the Restitution of Land Mortgaged At, 1938 which was amended in 1939, 1940 and 1943 to put an end to benami (fictitious) transactions. This device was resorted to by the moneylenders to frustrate the intension of the Act. of 1901. Also this Act protected the peasantry from the agriculturist money-lenders. The Act also provided for restitution of land mortgaged before June 8, 1901 free of cost to real owners. Accordingly, 3.65 lakhs land mortgagers got back 8.35 lakh acres of their mortgaged land for Rs. 413 lakhs without any cost.
Punjab Regulation of Accounts Act, 1930 which required the maintenance of a regular record of loan and furnishing of six monthly statement of accounts in request of loan to the debtor. The Punjab Relief of Indebtedness Act 1934 under which the interest on loan could not exceed the principal. The debtor stood discharged of the loan liability if he had paid the creditor twice the amount of principal. It saved the debtors from the loan of Rs. 200 lakhs. The Punjab Debtor Protection Act, 1936 prohibited attachment of, in the execution of a court decree, the land on which the debtor and his family depends, standing crops, standing trees, dwellings, one third output of food grains, bullock cart, mil cattle etc. The Punjab Registration of Money Lender’s Act 1938 compelled all moneylenders (except land owners who lent money to their tenants for the purposes of agriculture) to get themselves registered and obtain licenses from the District Collector and loan entries could be made only in the register certified by the Government and they could charge only the regulated rate of interest. Unlicensed money-lenders were debarred from the claim of getting loan repayment. Under the Punjab Relief of Indebtedness (Amendment) Act XII, 1940, Debt Conciliation Boards were established at District headquarters for settling debts of long standing duration in order to save both the creditors and debtors from litigation. For this purpose an interest of 7.5 per cent per annum was allowed for secured loans and of 12.5 per cent for unsecured loans. Rs. 1400 lakhs were settled at these rates in 1942.
One of the causes of economic backwardness of peasantry was fragmented land holdings. For instance in one village of Central Punjab fragmented land holdings. For instance in one village of Central Punjab 584 owners used to cultivate 16,000 fields. To remove the hurdles of countless boundaries, irrigation channels and supervision, the Punjab Consolidation of Holdings Act 1936 and its amendments in 1940 and 1945 were passed and cooperation department was entrusted the job of consolidation of holdings. Another Agrarian Act for the benefits of tillers of land was the Punjab Tenancy (Amendment) Act IX, 1939.
Another reason for economic backwardness of peasantry was the prevalence of shady deals and malpractices in marketing. The Punjab Agricultural Produced Markets Act IX, 1941 were passed to ensure proper returns to the farmers. These were fiercely attacked by traders and hartals were observed for a long periods. Their implementation led to the establishment of regulated marketing system in the State.
In order to divide the burden of taxation equally between agriculturists and traders, the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1941 was passed which imposed tax on the sale of goods in cities and towns. The Punjab Trade Employee’s Act 1941 made it compulsory for all traders, shopkeepers, businessmen, industrialists to observe one day’s holiday in a week. This provided the much needed relief to all workers employed in industry and trade without affecting the business.
The vested interests, money-lenders, traders and political opponents raised hue and cry against many of these legislations and questioned the legal validity of State Legislature passing such legislations with a threat that the matter would be taken to the Federal Court to declare them ultra-vires. It was mainly Chhotu Ram who explained the declare the real purpose of all these agrarian bills to the masses and replied to the criticism of his opponents who called them black acts. Chhotu Ram made extensive use of press, public platform and floor of legislature displaying unhesitating force, grim resolve and tremendous stamina in his replies and rebuttals to the opponents of Golden Acts. To convince about the mass support to the opponents of Golden Acts. To convince about the mass support to these legislations Chhotu Ram organised huge rural conferences in several districts of Punjab and received very great ovations every where from rural classes. According to Punjab Governor, “Chhotu Ram was the most effective champion of the agrarian policy of the Unionist Ministry.
- Other development works :
- Agriculture development works
Chhotu Ram and his party took numerous steps for the development of agriculture, irrigational facilities, industries and for the development of Punjab economy in general and of the peasantry in particular. Remissions of land revenue and water rates in the time of failure of crops were ordered; taccavi loan was given in more liberal scale; a net work of land mortgage banks and co-operative credit societies was created for helping to release agriculturists land mortgaged with money-lenders and to issue loans on easy terms. Peasants welfare fund was started reclamation of waste land was started Government seed farms were setup to Tehsil level to evolve new varieties of various crops better agricultural implements and improved seeds were made available to farmers; also proper attention was given to improve the breeds of livestock large number of Veterinary Hospitals and dispensaries were started in villages fruit cultivation was promoted, nurseries were started and fruit preservation was encouraged to improve income of farmers. Panchayat Boards were revived to arbitrate disputes among agriculturists so as to save them from indebtedness. The removal of oppressive burdens coupled with provision of additional facilities and pervasive awakening of peasantry greatly promoted agriculture.
- Irrigation development works
Chhotu Ram made concerted efforts not only in improving irrigation facilities and in rationalizing irrigational dues but also endeavored to streamline the working of the irrigation department of the province for the service of farmers. He wanted to execute a number of minor and major irrigational projects starting from the implementation of tubewell irrigation schemes, non-perennial canals and achieving the maximum up to Bhakra Dam Project. He wanted to banish famines from south east Punjab (now Haryana) which was the most backward region at that time.
To provide immediate relief he gave practical shape to kharif Extension Canal Scheme in 1940 providing irrigation to 3.5 lakh acres in Kharif season. He also rejuvenated in Gurgaon the bund (embankment) irrigation in 1943 which had been deteriorated during the preceding quinquennium by having by having been placed under the charge of irrigation department. Inspite of Governments apathy towards the Bhakra Dam Project, Chhotu Ram did not let the project disappear. As a result of him, surveys connected with Bhakra Dam Scheme were completed and the project was reviewed with a view to generating from it hydro- electric power also. To settle the dispute between the Governments of Sind and the Punjab, Chhotu Ram managed t compensate the Sind Government in 1944 by paying her Rs. 2 crores. But for Sir Chhotu Ram’s efforts Bhakra Dam might have been delayed still further and might have been changed in scope. Other two more schemes formulated in 1943 to bring water from Western Yamuna Canal by boring a two mile long tunnel through the Delhi Hills and bring water of two rivers Toshi & Giri of Sirmur State by constructing dam on themdid not mature during his life time.
Chhotu Ram’s irrigational work did not confine only to south eastern districts of the Province. It was mainly due to his effort that major projects like Haveli Project was completed in 1939 and Thal Project in 1942. It was again due to the efforts of Chhotu Ram that a scheme was stated to raise water levels of wells in Doaba in 1941 and a small canal was dug in Pind Dadu Khan area in 1942. Thus, irrigational improvements during Chhotu Ram’s period not only resulted in agricultural development but also provided a great stimulus to trade and industry in the province.
- Industrial development works
To tackle the problem of unemployment both in rural and urban areas and to improve the lot of the peasantry Sir Chhotu Ram advocated strongly the necessity particularly of the agriculture based industries as well as the development of cottage industriesin the State. For encouraging industrialization he allowed breaches into Punjab Alienation of Land Act for (i) obtaining loan from Industries Department and (ii) for acquiring plots for installing industries opened technical and industrial schools revived pottery industry encouraged beekeeping and poultry farming instituted industrial research fund. He provided industrial loans to the educated unemployed and spread female industrial education.
The work and policy of Sir Chhotu Ram and his party before independence laid the foundations for Green Revolution which ushered in after mid sixties with the evolution of High Yielding Varieties.
 D.S. Nandal- Deen Bandhu Sir Chhotu Ram, CCS, HAU Hisar[ 1995 P. 19
 Jat Gazette (tr) 24/03/1943
 M.L. Darling- Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt, P. 34
 P.L.C.D.- Vol. XXIII, 21/03/1933 P. 671
 D.S. Nandal- Deen Bandhu Sir Chhotu Ram, CCS, HAU Hisar[ 1995 P. 23
 P.L.A.D.- Vol. XXII, 5/3/1940, P. 134; also Vol. XV, 31/1/1941, P. 603
 Letter 5/1/1939, Punjab to India, Linlithgow papers.
 P.L.C.D.- Vol, 7/5/1925, PP. 1085-88
 P.L.C.D.- Vol, X, 23/11/1927, PP. 42, 1442-45
 P.L.A.D. – Vol. Xxi, 16/03/1943, P. 355
 Jat Gazette (tr), 16/6/1927, P.4
 Jat Gazette (tr), 20/4/1927, P.4
 P.L.A.D., Vol. III, 16/3/1938, P. 845
 P.L.A.D., Vol. VIII, 28/3/1939, P. 862
 Jat Gezette (tr), 15/6/1927, P. 4
 Y. Shastri- Khastriya Jatiyon Ka Uthanopatan (Hindi Haridwar, 1956), P. 628
 P.L.A.D., Vol. XII, 5/3/1940, P. 132
 Y. Shastri- Khastriya Jatiyon Ka Uthanopatan (Hindi Haridwar, 1956), P. 628
 P.L.A.D., Vol. XXI, 16/3/1943, P. 352
 R.S. Shastri- Haryana ka Ithash (Urdu), P. 218
 Kanwar Sain – Chhotu Ram in the Eyes of the Contemporaries, Ed. Pardaman Singh, 1992, P. 33-34
 Jat Gazettee (tr), 11/8/1943, P. 5
 P.L.C.D., Vol. VIII, 7/3/1925, P. 140
 P.L.C.D., Vol. I, 22/6/1937, P. 501
 P.L.C.D., Vol. VIII, 13/3/1925, P. 506
 P.L.A.D., Vol. I, 12/7/1937, P. 1360
 P.L.C.D., Vol. VIII, 6/3/1923, P. 1067 & 1069
 P.L.A.D., Vol. VIII, 16/3/1939, P. 210
 P.L.A.D., Vol. VIII, 28/3/1939, P. 861
 P.L.A.D., Vol. XVII, 17/3/1941, P. 123
1.Veeramani, S. Ph.D.& 2. Mr. M. Chinnadurai
Assistant Professors of English, Arignar Anna Govt. Arts College
Literary texts are significantly made up of signifiers from the definition of poststructuralist perspective. The author’s literary product is a dynamic, when a reader is making multiple readings. That is to say that a primary reading is not an end. There are multiple readings are in literature. This kind of multiplicity of reading is safely called ‘misreading’
Culture, deconstruction, environmental concern, misreading, nature
The well-known African American poet is Maya Angelou. She is a civil activist in Arkansas. Arkansas is a place in America, where black people live and were discriminated brutally on the racial issues. She is labelled as postcolonial / subaltern writer. Her most famous poem is ‘My Arkansas’. Generally this poem deals with the poet’s reminiscent of her experience of the poet. As it is well known that this poem is a note of autobiographical. Angelou has brought bitterly out the present and the past experience. From the perspective of post structuralism, a theorist can reread this poem in the aspect of multiplicity of meaning. The surface level of the meaning is defaced and the hidden meaning is unearthed. The constant unearthing activity is the primary act of post structuralism.
Post structuralism has not emerged suddenly. In arts and humanities the theory has been developed from structuralism. Post structuralism has produced a term called ‘deconstruction’. Originally the term deconstruction announced and practised by Jacques Derrida. Derrida was a French philosopher, born in 1930. In his intellectual account, he has written three significant books. Those are: a) Speech and Phenomena b) Writing and Difference and c) Of Grammatology. Derrida is not to the diametrically opposite meaning in a text. Rather, he is to the unread meaning, which is left in a text by a common reader. The term deconstruction is not a new one. It already existed in the 18th century. Derrida says that a literary text is already dismantled by itself. Therefore, he says that the left over meaning with the play of signifiers is reread.
Misreading- A note:
The term deconstruction is derived from old French word. Derrida himself says that deconstruction is not a new term. It better to quote from Julian Wolfreys’ essay ‘Deconstruction, What Remains Unread’:
‘The first known written appearance of the word in English is in 1882’. As with its French predecessor, it has legal connotations: ’a reform the beginnings of which must be a work of deconstruction’ (wolfreys, 117.)
Misreading of a literary text is not the reading of a literary text in a wrong manner, but it is a reading in which the other meaning is exhumed from a literary text. There are two kinds of method of reading, which can be functioned analyse a literary text.
A)Intended meaning (author’s / general /surface meaning)
- B) Unintended meaning (reader’s reconstruction/misreading/unread meaning/deconstruction)
The intended meaning defines that the surface level of the meaning in a text which the author wants to convey to readers. And it has a sequential logic at giving the meaning.
The unintended meaning defines that a reader deconstructs a literary text / art not from a reader’s own perspective, but to discover the unread he meaning, which is already dismantled by itself. In a linguistic network the play of signifiers are already tended to be deconstructed.
Deconstructive Analysis of the poem ‘My Arkansas’
Maya Angelou’s ‘My Arkansas’ is a well-known African American poem. Some readers and critics say that the poem deals with the theme of autobiography. Through this poem Angelou has depicted that there is a racial discrimination in her country. This poem is an example for that. In a deconstructive reading all the readings are the provisional. Therefore, in the practice of deconstruction, the term aporiais used.
There is a deep brooding
old crimes like moss pend
from poplar trees
the poet has utilized the metaphorical and figurative language in the above stanza. The poet says that in Arkansas old crimes are prevalent even now. The words ‘old’ ’crimes ‘make sense that the poet is in dilemma between old crimes and the modern crimes, since the old crimes are emphasized figuratively.
Moreover, the author has used the figurative words comparatively that ‘deep’ ‘brooding’‘moss pend’ and ‘poplar trees’, which have the nature of fast growing. Here the figurative words are representing the crimes committed by people in the Arkansas are culture. The words ‘moss’ and ‘poplar’ are representing ‘nature’. The poet seeks for assistance to bring out culture from ‘nature’. This is what a poststructuralist reading calls a concept of binary opposition. That is nature X culture, man X woman as such. In the poem the signifiers reiterate nature for emphasizing culture. The poet explains that nature of fast growing trees like ‘moss’ and ‘poplar’. The above few lines of the poem have the nature of culture
the sullen earth
Is much too
Red for comfort
The above lines are the environmental concern rather than her autobiographical note. The words ‘sullen earth’ and ‘too red’ are in the metaphorical sense. Again the poet seeks for assistance from nature ‘earth’. The words ‘too red’ might have explained that the earth is destroyed by the crimes. It shows that the earth is being deteriorated into loss of fertility, nature and greenish, because of the man-made violence. It is better termed as anthropocentrism. Therefore, it might to say that the poet has eco-concern
Sunrise seems to hesitate
And in that second
incandescent aim, and
dusk no more shadows
than the moon
The above lines are the explanatory of change of whether /climatic condition. The sun is not able to appear and disappear in the proper region /location. The sun loses its brighter light to flash. The line ‘the past is brighter yet’ shows that the line is connected with the ‘old crimes’ like ‘moss pend’. The explanatory note here is the cultural degradation makes more on nature and it has lost ‘values’ and ‘nature’. Again the poet seeks for assistance from natural phenomena like ‘earth, moon’. The poet is so concern about the environmental degradation and is compared with past/old crimes in Arkansas.
Old hates and
Ante-bellum lace, are rent
But not discarded
Today is yet to come
The poet might to say that before the American Civil war the condition was unsatisfactory. This might be a reason that the American civil war could bring peace. The term ‘ante-bellum’ is on par with before the American civil war. Therefore the poet makes importance to the environmental concern rather than her autobiographical note in the poem.
Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory:An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory.UK: Manchester University Press, 2010. print.
Wheeler, Kathleen and Indra, C.T. Explaining Deconstruction. Chennai: Macmillan, 1997. print.
Wolfreys, Julian. Introducing Literary Theories:A Guide and Glossary. UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2001. print.
Media men debating
People are thinking
Writers are inking
FDI in retail
Will it succeed or fail?
Politicians are politicians
They are champions
In putting the word
Before the world
In the way they like
Voicing against on the mike
Walking out of the House
Playing the game of hide and seek
Like Tom and Jerry, the mouse
Ensuring win in the Parliament
And trying to defeat on the street
. . .
Shashikant Nishant Sharma