Advantages of being a multilingual

Published: August 26, 2019 1:23:05 AM

Giving equal importance to both English and Hindi.

There are studies to prove that learning both Hindi and English can have significant advantages for kids.

By Mohit Bansal

India has dozens of languages and innumerable dialects. Most Indians are bilingual, growing up speaking at least two languages, including English and usually Hindi. English remains by far the most important language in a globalised world, so one can argue for the importance it’s given in schools, but Hindi isn’t a mandatory subject. A discussion about Hindi also brings up the North-South divide, but it shouldn’t be seen in that light. According to a survey by Lok Foundation, 528 million people speak Hindi as a first language. It is both the most widely spoken first as well as a second language in India. According to Census 2001, about 258 million people India spoke Hindi as native language, and 120 million as second language. Hindi is also one of the seven languages used to generate web addresses on the Internet.

A survey of 1,210 families with 2,464 children, conducted by the Azim Premji Foundation in four states, shows that parents often get spellbound to a school that focuses more on English than Hindi. There are studies to prove that learning both Hindi and English can have significant advantages for kids.

Multilingualism: Learning a second language is a great way to improve your career opportunities, as well as to broaden your travel and cultural horizons. Studies suggest that being multilingual may help improve multitasking, make your memory better, and can help improve listening and hearing skills.

Good exercise for the brain: The way the Devanagari script is written, from left to right direction with vowel signs positioned on top, below or on both sides of consonants, both the left and right hemispheres of the brain are equally used when reading the syllabic script. When reading English text, which is alphabetic, only the left hemisphere is activated.

Global reach of Hindi: Historians suggest that the language is part of the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-Iranian branch that belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. It is not only the preferred language by the majority in India, but speakers of Hindi can also be found in Uganda, Yemen, Bangladesh, Mauritius and South Africa.

The author is founder, iChamp, an e-learning tool for Mathematics, English and Hindi. Views are personal

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