English and Mandarin

The Question of Linguistic Capital and the Emerging Language in Pakistan


  • Munaza Hasan Nasir Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Social Sciences, Lahore School of Economics, Lahore


People make linguistic choices based on their attitudes toward languages. Linguistic attitudes are emotions toward a particular language used in a particular situation. Various individual characteristics influence the process of language learning (Williams & Burden, 1997). Parents play a major role in transferring language to the next generation. The parents' attitudes towards a language strongly influence the language learning and linguistic preference of their children. Chambers (1999) states that students do not come to the class as a tabula rasa; rather they bring with them attitudes ‘born out of conversation’ with their families and friends. Therefore, to explore the linguistic landscape of urban Punjab, Pakistan it is imperative to explore the parental attitude and perception towards various languages in use in the province. This research will explore if Punjabi parents would transfer the Punjabi language to the next generation or if they would want their children to learn another language. This situation will be analyzed through the lens of Bourdieu’s linguistic capital theory where language serves as a currency that the speakers can use to define their position in society. Previously researchers have focused mostly on Pakistani students’ attitudes toward various languages. Research that explores the attitudes of Pakistani parents whose children go to elite English medium schools is scarce hence this research will fill that gap.