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Help your Child Learn a New Language

Hindi: Basic grammar presented in a student- friendly way http://www.eduarrow.com/topic/399/vachan

Pronunciation and usage of letters http://www.learn-hindi-online.com/coffee.php

Worksheets (free to print) hindigym.com

Bengali: http://www.little-linguist.co.uk/bengali-for-children.html

Marathi: http://www.indif.com/kids/learn_marathi/

Telugu, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada http://www.balmitra.com/languagebook/languagebook.asp


On Home Ground (Mother Tongue or Local Language)

With English as the language of communication in many urban homes (turn to the Xchange section for a heated debate on this), many parents are keen that their child learns to speak the language of either the father or mother’s family.

Begin with basic phrases and conversation starters, and not the alphabet. This will make it more interesting for the bookchild. The parent familiar with the language is the best teacher, in helping the child grasp nuances of grammar and usage. If you or your spouse do not have the time, enroll a grandparent to provide in-person or remote coaching! Read children’s magazines (see box on the next page) aloud to your child, to build his vocabulary. Bilingual, childfriendly books like the ones published by IBH and Tulika can be of great help. Audio books (book + CD) are a practical alternative – ‘Karadi Tales’ are available in Hindi and Tamil.

Another way to get your child enthused is to increase his television viewing allowance and let him feast on children’s channels in the language being learnt. Teens can also watch the news on regional channels.

You can use the same tips, as a family, to learn the local language when you move to a new place. It is likely that that the local language is also the second or third language in school. Building oral fluency, enhancing vocabulary and increasing confidence using the tips below, will also reflect in the school work that he does:

  • Persuade your child to speak the local language as often as he can – with the domestic help, friends, shop keepers etc.
  • Declare one day of the week a day when only the local language will be spoken, and ensure that all family members participate.
  • Encourage your child to read road signs, shop signs, route names on buses.
  • Watch plays and dramas in the local language with your child. Ranga Shankara, Bangalore, Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai and National School of Drama, New Delhi organise children’s play festivals in local languages every year.

Magazines for Children

Hindi – Champak, Chandamama
Tamil – Chutti Vikatan, Gokulam, Chandamama, Champak
Telugu – Balamithra, Champak
Bengali – Sandesh, Chandamama
Malayalam – Balabhumi, Balamangalam, Balarama
Kannada – Gilivindu, Balamangala, Champak, Chandamama
Marathi – Kishore, Chacha Chaudhary, Champak, Chandamama


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