Articles of interest
08th February 2022
Hindi as a Second and Foreign Language
New Horizons of Hindi Foreign Language Education
There has been an inherent discussion on what methods, techniques, and ways to adapt and incorporate in foreign language teaching ever since learning a foreign language began in a formal educational setting. This is the reason why, one after the other, new theories and methods of teaching foreign languages have emerged. However, due to the distinct nature of each language of diverse cultural regions, those theories and methods demand to be designed and applied through a suitable method that meets the teaching and learning needs of a foreign language. That's why instructors and academia of a foreign language meet from time to time to share the challenges of language learning and the successful experiments of effective methods of classroom instructions of that language. In 2019, one such international event was held at the University of Lisbon in which academicians associated with Hindi foreign language education (HFLE) shared their teaching experiences and experiments. Those same ideas are now published in the form of a book by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. This should be seen in the context of current practice and emerging trends in the field of Hindi foreign language education.
The book Hindi as a Second and Foreign Language contains eleven chapters on several aspects of HFLE in diverse contexts such as linguistics, multimedia, technology, translation and interpretation, and presents an exhaustive sketch of teaching and learning Hindi as a foreign language. Delivering a keynote address, K. V. Subbarao explains (Chapter III) how language typology may enrich the quality of second language teaching and learning, and how an error analysis that explicates the nature of the errors committed would facilitate faster second language learning. He further suggests that language lessons should be prepared to keep in mind the features of ‘India as Linguistic Area’. He argues “any approach that neglects the explanation of grammatical principles to an adult language learner of the second language and focuses only on the communicative aspects of language does not yield the expected proficiency in the language as second language teaching done in a non-native environment and that too for a restricted time duration.” However, debating on approaches to foreign language teaching, Renner (Chapter IX) distinguishes analysis and communication process as two basic approaches to deal with a target language and argues that, to facilitate the language acquisition process in general and Hindi in particular, an analysis must be combined with communicative grammar teaching, which he demonstrates to be adapted to HFLE. Ludmila Khokhlova (Chapter V), while describing methods used and approaches adapted to HFLE at Moscow University, lists some ongoing projects with the students, including unusual meaning of compound verbs, animate direct object marking, rare usage of causative verbs, and mechanisms of code-switching in non-official conversation on ‘intellectual’ topics. This comprehensive account of teaching Hindi can also be useful for Hindi instructors in other geographical regions.
From the language typology perspective, the comparative study between Portuguese and Hindi by Shiv Kumar Singh et al. (Chapter II) would be useful for both learners of Hindi and Portuguese, in that it focuses on the similarities and differences between the two languages. The importance of realia in teaching a foreign language may not be disputed; hence, Chapter IV (Premlata Pinky and Bairam Khan) rightly advocates using advertisements in Hindi teaching to get a taste of everyday life. Similarly, using technology to teach and learn language has not only become essential these days, but is trendy too. From this point of view, Chapter VI (Kusum Knapezyk) is relevant and explores using technology in flipped and traditional classroom settings. The remaining chapters of the book present an interesting analysis of the linguistic aspects of Hindi in the light of HFLE. The tenth chapter (Parvaz Insha) is different from the rest of the chapters; it deals with French-Hindi translation and interpretation, and with judicial translation in an interesting way. The challenges of judicial translation and interpretation from French to Hindi are magnified because the legal systems of the two countries are distinct from each other. Overall, this book serves as a reference for those working in the field of Hindi as a foreign language. Yes, it must be said that this book misses a culture-focused chapter on Hindi teaching, which is an essential part of HFLE and indispensable for communication. Despite this limitation, it is to be expected that this book will be able to make a strong presence in the field of HFLE.
D. A. P. Sharma
Dwivedi Anand Prakash Sharma is Professor of Hindi at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, University of Delhi.
Hindi as a Second and Foreign Language is available now in Hardback at a 25% discount. Enter code PROMO25 at checkout to redeem.