Tamil Nadu

“Learning through mother tongue is effective”

Ulrike Niklas, Professor at the University of Cologne, Germany.

Ulrike Niklas, Professor at the University of Cologne, Germany.   | Photo Credit: G_KARTHIKEYAN;G_KARTHIKEYAN - G_KARTHIKEYAN

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Learning through mother tongue is very effective, and it helps children understand the content easily. But Tamil has been losing its effect even among the Tamil population, as many Tamil parents prefer English to Tamil, according to Ulrike Niklas, Professor at the University of Cologne, Germany.

Talking to reporters after delivering the guest address at the 15th International Tamil Internet Conference held at Gandhigram Rural Institute near here on Friday, she said the 2000-year-old classical language was absolutely fit for the modern world. There was no reason to deny its use in school and university education. Learning through mother tongue would ensure the real kind of development in society, she noted.

But many Tamil parents preferred English to Tamil for learning and teaching. The children were sent to English medium schools for sheer prestige. The parents who were not able to speak a few sentences in English too sent their children to English medium schools. The children were taught to learn English to make a career. They were also told that speaking in Tamil was not advisable. Ultimately, the children would lose their mother tongue. Now, only poor people had been using their mother tongue, she lamented. Prof. Niklas said several youths in Singapore were losing their mother tongue. They could speak neither in English nor in their mother tongue perfectly. Singapore was closely on the verge of becoming a language-less state, she said.

On the development of Tamil in Germany, she said the language was taught at university level as a foreign language. To develop a new curriculum for Tamil, computer tools and online exercises were developed three years ago. “We use Whatsapp to send messages in Tamil to students to enable them to learn and understand common Tamil expressions. We motivate them to send replies in Tamil,” she added.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 9:52:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/%E2%80%9CLearning-through-mother-tongue-is-effective%E2%80%9D/article14631069.ece

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