Learning Kannada...

August 30, 2006


<FONT face=Arial size=2>I have been struggling to learn more than the rudimentary Kannada I know, but sadly, it is not needed at all in daily life, and my efforts are still mostly in vain. I made sure I learnt the alphabet as soon as I moved into this city.  I watch Kannada films or sometimes, TV serials, to enable my understanding of the spoken language. But I must say that Kannada (or other Indian languages) are not taught well, the way foreign languages like French and German are (I learnt German so well in this very city.)  An antiquated, didactic approach prevails. Foreign language classes are made great fun to attend. There is stress on hearing and speaking as well as reading and writing. Audio-visual material is shown regularly. I would love to have either a converstaional Kannada course in my locality or to attend a really well-designed Kannada basic course. I still go and watch Girish Karnad's plays first in English and then in Kannada to understand a little of the original flavour. I go to attend Yakshagana or puppet performances.</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial size=2>Yes, indeed I too love my mother tongue, Tamizh ( that's why I take the trouble to write the name properly..it's not Tamil but, phonetically,Tamizh). I never learnt it in school though...because my mother asked me to take Bengali as my third language in school. She said she would teach me Tamizh at home. (She herself engaged a tuition master to learn Bengali (my childhood was spent in Kol, as you can see) and read the classics of Bengali literature.) This ensured that I learnt another language and to me, the knowledge of every extra language is like another treasure chest opening up. But I can see how, in South India, people say they are studying Sanskrit or Hindi at the advanced level...and can't put two sentences together coherently when they speak. I did a basic course in Sanskrit and the whole class was ONLY interested in "passing the exam"...they would NOT speak in Sanskrit at all, and in fact, many of them would not use the Devanagari script , but the Kannada script (I don't know its name.)</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial size=2>Since I grew up in a region far away from where I orginally hail from, I know the enrichment that comes from exposure to a different culture.</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial size=2>I would love it if learning Kannada were made easier...there must be many,many people like me who would like it too.The Karnataka govt should run well-designed, conversation- and everyday situation-oriented basic Kannada courses, and have them in all areas...if there is a course running in Rajaji Nagar, there is not much chance that I, from J P Nagar, will be able to attend regularly!</FONT>