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Viva La Lingo

THE TIMES OF INDIA  EDUCATION TIMES

MONDAY JANUARY 31, 2000 MUMBAI

 VIVA LA LINGO

Sejal Gupta has some tips for the foreign language enthusiasts.

Haven’t you always wanted to dress like the French, eat like the Italian, dance like the Spanish and work like the Japanese?? Well, sitting right here in Mumbai, the best way to get as close to them as you can is to learn how they talk. Speaking their language is learning their way of life, how they think and how they behave.

But enthusiasm of talking up a foreign language, one must take into account the various facts of the subject. According to Diya Patel, who has learnt German, “The institute from where you learn the language plays a very important role in the knowledge you obtain”. A reputed institute offering a variety of courses is a must. The essential aspect of language learning is being in constant touch with it. So, opting for an organization which provides you the opportunity of continuing in successive levels is a sensible choice. Also while selecting the aim for which you are learning the language should not be forgotten. For those interested in a lucrative career as an interpreter or translator, hard core grammar courses are a must. Basic conversation courses highlighting the currently spoken words and expressions would be a better bet for students aspiring to pursue higher education in that country while business language courses which focus on the commercial parlance would suit the needs of those trading abroad. The Alliance Francaise de Bombay teaching French and Max Muller Bhavan offering German are the two highly recognized institutions satisfying the particular needs of the students. The unique feature of the Alliance Francaise is that its faculty includes not only Indian teachers teaching French. But also professors fromFranceitself. This helps students to pick up the real French accent and get a sneak preview of theFrenchSchoolthroughout. Many students are opting nowadays for private language learning courses, on a one to one basis. Although this provides you with a personalized attention, you miss out on learning from others mistakes. And holding a discussion with only your professor may get quiet boring at the end of half an hour. Also, to seriously master a language one must give it time to set in instead of choosing crash courses by intensive classes which go on for three to four hours daily and eventually take a toll on your concentration span; selecting a course which extends over a long period, is more practical. This gives you a chance to gradually soak in the new vocabulary and alien rules so that you can make your fundamentals.

According to Dinesh Govindani, Spanish teacher at the Studies Centre of Foreign Languages, (SCOFL). “Writing the language is very important. Continuous writing of what you learn and then reading it aloud, serves a dual purpose – fluency. Both written and oral.”

Having access to books, magazines, video and audio cassets is a bog boon.Reading magazine Articles and doing listening exercises with audio tapes help a great deal in picking up the language. Nowadays, CD ROMS offering a multiple variety of puzzles, dialogues, quizzes, crosswords by games to test the student’s language skills, are good home teachers. Voice French Student priya Vaid, “The foreign channels offered by my cable is blessing in disguise. One hour daily viewing the TV5 and MCM has done wonders for my vocabulary and conversing abilities. The biggest faux pas in language learning is translating it mentally into English or your mother tongue. Advocates Blanche Dias, French teacher with 25 years teaching experience, “From the onset students should be encouraged to think in terms of the foreign language. Students have this habit of always equating the foreign language with their mother tongue. This needs to be avoided.”

So all you winnable Pierres and Pablos sign up for a language learning course here in  Mumbai and slowly make your way to its country of origin.

 

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