Crossings > Archive > Volume 13, No. 1 (2022) > English as a Status Marker on Facebook: The Case of Bangladeshi University Students | Monisha Biswas
English as a Status Marker on Facebook: The Case of Bangladeshi University Students
Abstract: Nowadays, Facebook seems to have become a platform for people to show off their statuses (social, economic, educational, etc.) to the extent that their choice of language here can be linked to a status symbol. This study specifically examines the reasons and different ways Bangladeshi university students use English on Facebook to achieve status. Data were collected through observations of Facebook posts, a survey of 117 university students, and a semi-structured interview of 10 undergraduate students. The study found that most of the participants preferring English for Facebook posts and comments feel more educated, impressive, and prestigious. However, most participants agreed to preferring Bangla for personal messages. Interestingly, English is found to be preferred when writing to someone respectful in a formal context. Even participants with a weaker command of English were found to be using the language on Facebook without being bothered about linguistic accuracy. The study also found that all participants used code switching and code mixing between English and Bangla languages. These findings imply that English is mostly used by these university students to exhibit their high education status and language identities in public on Facebook.
Keywords: English, status, language identity, Bangladeshi university students, Facebook
Published in June 2022