Any language is joyful if learnt with enthusiasm (“New ways of learning old rules,” Opinion, Dec, 19). English, for example, opens new doors of knowledge to a learner. As a language, it is flexible and accommodating.

Being a student in the Marathi medium, I was once a victim of the formula of rigid language learning. It is strange that in 2013, the centenary year of Tagore winning the Nobel Prize for Literature (1913), India has failed to produce more laureates in literature. The media must play an active role in widening the ambit of language awareness.

Abhishek S. Chapanerkar,

Pune

Students must realise that grammar develops analytical and cognitive skills. I recently faced this situation. I always felt that I had a strong command over Hindi until I appeared for the Civil Services (Mains) examination this year. Hindi, the Indian language paper I had chosen, was a nightmare. Five of six questions — essay writing, comprehension, précis writing and translation — were designed to test one’s analytical and comprehension skills. It made me realise that language teaching methods in schools have to be changed.

Rocky Ranjan Bharti,

Hyderabad

Based on my experiences of such engagement with university students, these approaches of teaching are what Professor Agnihotri rightly calls a “boring and massive waste of human energy and resources.” Most engineering students in my class always assumed “my father name” without the possessive ‘s’ for father and “many peoples” instead of ‘people’ — the outcome of a mechanisation of teaching plural formation and neglecting multilingualism.

Multilingual settings and what we call “L1 interference,” which many of us assume and treat as a problem, is an asset in understanding the nature and structure of language. Most research on language acquisition hardly subscribes to any mechanical exercise as a facilitator for language learning.

M. Ashraf Bhat,

Greater Noida

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