It’s not all Greek and Latin, but much more. The youths of the city are showing a bent for many foreign languages.

“I like learning new languages. I don’t intend to study abroad but knowledge of a foreign language is always helpful,” says Hadley D’Souza, a student of St. Aloysius College. Hadley is learning French and has expressed a desire to learn Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew and Latin. So expect to hear more bonjour, guten morgan and buenos dias — good morning in French, German and Spanish.

And why not. As Larkins D’Souza, co-ordinator, Alliance Francaise de Mangalore, says people now have a more global outlook and foreign languages provide an edge in employment opportunities. For example, BPOs can get contacts with French-speaking countries and in six months Canadian visas will require a compulsory A2-level certification. For Edward Mascarenhas, 49, who is associated with the U.N. Mission in the technical field, learning French is a job requirement as his next assignment is in Africa where French is widely spoken. He says that although the pronunciation is a bit tricky, it’s “not bad”.

Varadaraj Nayak, a private German tutor, says that students seeking higher studies abroad and dependant-spouse visa applicants constitute most of his student population.

He says most engineering students prefer Germany for higher studies as it provides inexpensive and top quality education. Nitin Immanuel, who studied automotive engineering in Sweden agrees. “Studying in a country with an established industry definitely helps university students as they invest a lot in research.”

Rajni Lobo Patrao, a private Spanish tutor who worked with a Bangalore-based IT firm for eight years, says that people aren’t aware of the scope of Spanish, which is spoken in about 28 countries.

Alliance Francaise and The Moegling Institute of German language are the only two official centres of foreign languages in Mangalore. There are private tutors like Mr. Nayak and Ms. Patrao but many who are interested aren’t aware of such classes.

Nobert Lobo, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, St. Aloysius College, says the knowledge of foreign languages opens up many employment opportunities. As the environment now is both multicultural and multilingual, a person who knows a foreign language will make a better colleague and a better employee.

No demand: VC

T.C. Shivashankara Murthy, Vice Chancellor, Mangalore University, says the university do not offer master’s course in foreign languages because there is no demand for it.

“But if there are 15 students, we are willing to prepare the syllabus and regulations, and send them to the government for approval,” he says.

Dr. Murthy says a group of teachers had approached him with a proposal to form a foreign language association but all future plans depended on student response.

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