The Use of English in Pakistani Universities: Implications for Students

Rabia Ali, Sidra Umar


This paper critically analyzes the use of the English language in Pakistani universities and its implications for students. The data for this paper is drawn from qualitative research conducted in two universities in Islamabad - the federal capital of Pakistan.  Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 56 participants including teachers and students. The findings illustrate that students struggled to learn and use English in the academic spaces. This was especially true for students from rural backgrounds and those trained in public schools. Yet, despite such difficulties, English was believed to be a powerful language and its significance was acknowledged in order for them to operate as global citizens. Nevertheless, besides the promises associated with the English language, the threats and dangers to the local culture and local languages were also a concern for some participants. It was believed that the foreign culture in the academic spaces was promoting linguistic and cultural hegemony. The paper emphasises the need to make efforts for the maintenance and promotion of the Urdu language despite the dynamics introduced by the hegemony of the English language


English; Language; Culture; Education system; Linguistic Hegemony

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