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Help your Child Learn a New Language

Television Channels for Children

Chutti TV (Tamil)
Kushi TV (Malayalam)
Kochu TV (Malayalam)
Chintu TV (Kannada)
Hungama TV (Hindi )
Several programmes in POGO and Disney Channel are dubbed in regional languages

On ‘Foreign Ground’ – When it is Greek and Latin (and French, German, Mandarin or Spanish!) to you


Your child could watch his favourite movies with the sound track in the foreign language

While French has long been popular as an optional second or thirdlanguage for highschoolers, many more children today are opting to learn other foreign languages to help them navigate a world with shrinking boundaries. There are many avenues to learn a foreign language, even if it is not offered at school (see Box in next page).

The catch is that most parents are completely unfamiliar with these languages. It is also difficult to find avenues to practise. Since your child has far fewer opportunities to hear it being spoken, he will find it harder to pick up nuances of grammar, tense and accent. Show him ways to combine a passion or past-time with language learning:

  • Watch movies with the soundtrack in the foreign language; also movies in the foreign language, with English subtitles.
  • Read comics like Asterix and Tintin in French.
  • Look up salsa instructions and videos in Spanish on the internet.

Many apartment complexes and gated communities in large cities have a fairly diverse populace; if you live in one of these, take the initiative of finding a neighbour who is German or French for your child to practise with.

Immersion is a widely-recommended approach to learning a language. If you can manage it, arrange for your child to spend a vacation in Pondicherry practising French. Another practical idea – find a pen pal from the country whose native language is the one your child is learning.

Virtual Pen Pals

While there are many pen pal websites, this one is fully compliant with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and has the TRUSTe seal of safety.) https://www.penpalkidsclub.com/.

An alternate is to have ‘skype-pals’ – connect over Skype with a native speaker of the language to improve pronunciation, accent etc. Here are some websites: http://www.languageexchanges.org, http://www.conversationexchange.com

Indian and yet ‘foreign’!


Sanskrit is an Indian language, but since it is no longer a spoken language, it is as difficult, as in the case of a foreign language, to find avenues to practise the language. Here are some ways you can facilitate your child’s learning in Sanskrit (since it is an ancient language, the language is usually used in a mythological or a religious context):


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