Over-anglicised English | Daily News


Over-anglicised English

How do young people know about their culture and literature if they don’t read? What should they do to update them on these fields? They must read or their teachers must help them to visit libraries and explain them to what the students should read outside their curriculum. But the irony is that most of the teachers themselves are not updated to meet the requirements.

May I suggest that they must regularly read the arts and literature pages in various newspapers, which publish different kinds of reviews and articles on all aspects of literature weekly? There are a few literary magazines and academic journals they can subscribe to. They might attend literary meetings and book launches and listen to speakers who may be authentic in their views.

It is not the knowledge of literature and culture that they gain, but a multi-discipline knowledge in other fields too if they develop their reading with understanding. If they start reading from their 5th standard, they will attain a high standard of being proficient in updated knowledge.

It is true the computer will give you all the information that you search for but you wouldn’t enjoy the same pleasure as you, yourself read, reflect and critically analyze your feelings and thoughts from a book.

The students should allocate an hour or two weekly, purely for reading and understanding.

They can read fiction (that is novels, short stories and the like), poetry, drama and non-fiction like Biographies, Autobiographies, Collections of Essays, literary criticism, History of Literature in specific ages, Encyclopaedia and the like. They can consult dictionaries to understand the different meanings even for one word, they can use a thesaurus for explanatory meanings.

The main thing is that they should have their own opinion based on the facts they gather from their reading.

This systematic method can be common to all students that are Sinhala or Tamil and bilingual or trilingual capabilities.

Not all students distaste reading. Sophisticated students are smarter than others because of their reading habit. Students in the big cities on the island are fortunate in the English medium in International Colleges, where they can exchange views and interact with each other. They become conversant in communication. That goes a long way in getting good jobs.

Unfortunately in rural areas, they have a handicap in that they never speak in English and feel shy and fear the ‘Sword’ that is an alien language. Love of Mother Language is natural, but in this technological and digital world, the necessity of knowing English is absolutely necessary. The need for trilingual competent men and women is felt badly to solve our ethnic oriented problems. The disgust over the English language should be cleared. Competent trained teachers and graduates in English with Sinhala or Tamil rootedness from Colombo, and elsewhere should be employed in outstations and rural areas. Even retired academics, media people, knowledgeable speakers could be employed for a quick favourable result in those areas.

Some of the graduates and trained English teachers may be living in villages and towns who could make these rural students reasonably good in English.

I have been an English teacher from a Tamil translator to a radio news journalist and copywriter, information assistant, print journalist, and then as a teacher of English language and literature.

My method of teaching was as a communicator and facilitator. And that proved a success in Oman and the US and Sri Lanka. I only showed the way and the students learnt to think and write well. My experience as an English radio announcer helped me to teach them the correct pronunciation.

Let’s hope we achieve the targets and be equal with the other parts of the world.

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