Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Learning Hindi

Many years ago, North Indians tried to impose Hindi on South Indians. Many things happened since then. Hindi was banned and the South became an English superpower. But Hindi made its inroads, mostly thanks to the phillum industry. What diktats and Hindi diwas could not do, Hindi movies achieved it. And perhaps a bit of paneer butter masala as well.

In cosmpolitan Bangalore - nobody speaks Hindi. Children speak a mix of languages at home Tamil, Kannada - English outside while playing and at school - cartoons are also seen in English. But in the school the second language is Hindi. (Why, you ask? Simple utility - it lets you get around the country etc etc.) But, the little ones are unable to comprehend why are they learning a language that is not used anywhere. Unlike when (and where) I grew up, the lingua franca was Hindi, here it is not.

Now, learning a language without having to use or converse is about as motivating as having to learn to swim without a swimming pool (bad simile, but I wanted a simile at this point). Needless to say, we grapple with Hindi at multiple levels- from words to sentences to grammar to whythehellamidoingthis to exams to show and tell.

But in the meantime, Hindi songs and old movie clips are helping us...perhaps. Though I am not sure if he has to make a sentence in Hindi he will use the line of some song... and whether that may lead to the parents being called to school?

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