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BOOKS FOR YOU TO READ AND DOWNLOAD
VIA GESTURE: A
STUDY OF INDIAN CONTEXTS by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
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and Disorder - Some Classic Positions by
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- English in India:
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by Annika Hohenthal
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by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
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by B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
- A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF HINDI
by V. Geethakumary, Ph.D.
- LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISEMENTS
by Sandhya Nayak, Ph.D.
- An Introduction to TESOL:
Methods of Teaching English
to Speakers of Other Languages
by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
- Transformation of
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Kannada - A Case Study
by B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
- How to Learn
by M.S.Thirumalai, Ph.D.
- Verbal Communication
with CP Children
by Shyamala Chengappa, Ph.D.
and M.S.Thirumalai, Ph.D.
- Bringing Order
to Linguistic Diversity
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the British Raj by
Ranjit Singh Rangila,
M. S. Thirumalai,
and B. Mallikarjun
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Copyright © 2001
M. S. Thirumalai
LANGUAGE NEWS THIS MONTH
English Words in Chinese; Indian Army Morale, Military Rule, and Democracy; English and Computer Industry; Robbing a Poet
PROMOTE ENGLISH AND MAKE MORE MONEY!
Can English ever lose in India? English found yet another ardent supporter in the declarations of a leading IT expert from India. V. Muralidharan, Process and Quality Head (South Asia and Global Development Centre), Tata Consultancy Services, spoke at a meeting in Anna University, Chennai. He declared that the "initiatives by educational institutions to improve English proficiency among students will help the software industry sustain its growth. The industry banked on educational institutions to meet this requirement. Measures to improve the students' language (READ ENGLISH!) must be part of Total Quality Management initiatives in the institutions." He said that "such efforts would help in strengthening the Indian software industry, which faced increasing competition from China, Malaysia and the Philippines. It was not just cost (of the product and services) but quality too counted. The emphasis on quality led to cost-effectiveness, a reduction in defects and improved turnaround time." Yes, indeed, there seems to be an assumption that quality in software industry depends on the quality of English that our boys and girls have and demonstrate!
INDIAN ARMY MORALE AND DEMOCRACY
A very interesting report by Praveen Swami in THE HINDU on February 7, spoke about the high morale the Indian Army personnel possess. They are ready and willing to face the challenge that face the nation across the borders.
Indian Army is a great Indian institution, a blend of the best Indian traditions developed and nurtured by various dynasties in the country such as the Cholas who established colonies across the seas in Southeast Asia, and the disciplined British Military traditions. Every Indian can and should feel proud of this great institution. Indian Army resolved the language and ethnic identity issues in many interesting ways. They adopted Roman Hindi during the British rule. Discussions relating to a common language for the Army were actively pursued, and some solutions identified. In recent years, there appears to be a conscious attempt to recognize the multi-pronged traditions of the Armed Forces through efforts at christening ships, etc., with names adopted from a variety of linguistic and regional groups. Regiments continue to bear a variety of names relating to various provinces and communities. Indian Armed Forces have begun to celebrate the diversity with enthusiasm in recent years.
Praveen Swamy reported on the first-ever survey on the attitudes of Army personnel. He pointed out that in this survey the majority of the personnel put their confidence in democratic institutions. While this is a welcome news for a country wedded to democracy, the survey revealed that "a disturbing 27 per cent, however, expressed support for military rule."
This, indeed, is a very high percentage. I did not see much discussion on this point in the newspapers. It is easy for some people to be carried away by the happenings in countries adjacent to India, and turn to military rule as the best form of rule in India. It is also possible that political dogmas on the rise in the country contribute to such thinking. Do our educational institutions fail in this respect? Democratic institutions cannot be nurtured without adopting democratic means. 27 percent is a dangerously high level. Military rule is to be despised in the strongest terms. But what steps are being taken to stop this corrosion, and inculcate a deep love and commitment to democracy in this great institution?
There is a lack of co-ordination between the institutions that specialize in the study of communities and languages occupying the international borders, and the Indian Army. Effective intelligence work cannot be carried out without some competence in the languages or dialects spoken in and around the international borders. Indian Army needs to establish some effective language learning schools, or take advantage of the existing ones in the universities, etc., and initiate joint efforts to study the ethnic, religious, cultural, and linguistic profile of the communities. The language teaching methods adopted in Army schools meant for the Jawans use a rough-and-tumble method, with very little understanding of the recent developments in language teaching.
Weapons alone cannot ensure security. People's good will earned through demonstrated help rendered to them is a good beginning. And this approach can be sustained only if there is utter faith in democracy.
ENGLISH WORDS IN CHINESE DICTIONARIES!
The Press Trust of India recently reported that more English words appear in new Chinese dictionaries: "Commonly used English words and abbreviations such as ATM, DVD, E-mail and WTO are now finding their way into Chinese dictionaries." Four pages of English words and abbreviations!
This is perhaps shocking to those Chinese people who are further away from the corridors of power and who live in the outlying regions of China.
The reason for the inclusion of English words in the Chinese dictionaries appears to be that these words were much simpler than their equivalents (in translation) in the Chinese language.
This argument is similar to the arguments extended among the "elites" in India to justify the large number of English words used in the day-to-day language. Indians somehow are in the process of making hybrid language expressions as the preferred form of communication.
In the past, it was easy for almost every literate Indian to use words borrowed from the Sanskrit language without any question. In fact, such usage became the most preferred form in the newly emerging Indian languages.
In the 20th century, during the freedom struggle, use of English words in Indian language sentences, especially in writing, was generally avoided. On the other hand, deliberate attempts were made to incorporate Sanskrit words as substitutes for the Persian, Arabic, or English words.
Tamil, on the other hand, attempted to remove the Sanskrit words already in use and adopt loan translations instead of these "foreign" words, including those from English. The Tamil Bible, until recently, is perhaps one of the very few documents in Tamil which did not use any word from English. The translators of the Bible included a lot of Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic words commonly used in Tamil in their translation, but scrupulously avoided English words. Recent translations, however, appear to use some words of English origin. For instance, the Tamil word for "mile" is "kal" meaning a stone, which is now replaced by the English word "mile" in Tamil transcription in the Tamil Bible.
Hybridization in language use has become the hallmark of every educated Indian. In this respect Indians are indeed more advanced! (Should this be continued, and what social and political implications such indiscriminate hybridization has for the Indian languages?) The Chinese come nowhere near the Indians. They have just begun to coin and use English-Chinese combined words, according to the report. The report predicted, "that with globalisation and Chinese society opening up, more English words will melt into the Chinese language. In the 1996's edition of the modern Chinese dictionary, only 39 English words and abbreviations were cited, whereas in the 2002 edition, the number rose to 142." We in India really do not need globalization in this aspect. Sadly, we are well ahead of globalization in this linguistic process!
ROBBING A POET
Newspapers wrote that the Nobel Prize medallion of Rabindranath Tagore was stolen. Politicians criticized the theft as a national shame. Indeed, it was just another event added to the long series of piracy and thievery! How about those centuries-old panchaloha art works stolen and sold abroad apparently with the help of the centers of authority in administration? How about the leakage of question papers, and selling these valuable instruments for a price! How about the denudation of the forests, quarrying sand indiscriminately, and lining the pockets in the name of helping the poor? How about the bank and stock market scams? How about the "premium" we all have to pay for our long distance railway tickets even when the sale is computerized? How about killing people by selling hooch? How about the worms in cool drinks? How about selling fake stamp papers for thousands of crores of rupees for many years, right under the nose of the centers of authority in administration? Well, I have no doubt that our dear and darling poet Rabindranath would be greatly amused with our priorities! We have an unending long list of national shames, and the best respect that we can pay to our great poet at this time of consternation in his great, unequaled, and illustrious career is to use the weapon of Tagore's poetry to get back to the basics of Indian civilization: tolerance, understanding, wisdom, and love of all.
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INDIAN MULTILINGUALISM, LANGUAGE POLICY AND THE DIGITAL DIVIDE | CONTEXTUALIZING CLASSROOMS IN THE TRIBAL AREA SCHOOLS IN ORISSA: An Experiential Learning Process | STORY INTERPRETATION AND LANGUAGE LEARNING | LANGUAGE POWER - How It Progresses from Script to CD Rom | LANGUAGE, GRAMMAR TEACHING, AND BEAUTY | LANGUAGE NEWS THIS MONTH - English Words in Chinese; Indian Army Morale, Military Rule, and Democracy; English and Computer Industry; Robbing a Poet | BHARTRHARI - THE FATHER OF INDIAN SEMANTICS | OUTFITTING SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH IN INDIA - Structure, Role, and Function of a Workbook | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR
M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Bethany College of Missions
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