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Paper : Language Competence and Communication Skills
Course Code : BED 15401
Semester : 4th

Directorate of Distance Education

University of Kashmir
Hazratbal, Srinagar
Course Prepared By

Mr. Basharat Shameem

Directorate of Distance Education
University of Kashmir

Programme Coordinator and Format Editing

Habibullah Shah Ph.D

Assistant Professor (Education)
Directorate of Distance Education
University of Kashmir

Course Co-ordination Team

 Prof. Neelofar Khan

 Mr. Showkat Rashid Wani
 Mr. Habibullah Shah
 Mr. Javeed Ahmad Puju
 Dr. Syed Ishfaq Ahmad

Published By

Prof. (Dr.) Neelofar Khan

Directorate of Distance Education
University of Kashmir, Srinagar
Year of Publication: 2016

© Directorate of Distance Education

University of Kashmir
Course Code: BED-15103 Language Competence and Communication

Unit I Role of Language

i) Language: concept, importance and linguistic principles.

ii) Language and society: language and gender; language and identity;
language and power
iii) Language in school: Home language and school language; language
across the curriculum; language and construction of knowledge;
difference between language as a school- subject and language as a
means of learning and communication; multilingual classrooms.

Unit II Position of Languages in India

i) Constitutional provisions and policies of language in education(Articles 343-

351, 350A)
ii) Kothari commission (1964-66) with special reference to language education.
iii) National curriculum frame work- 2005 with special reference to language

Unit III Descriptive Grammar

i) Tenses: simple tense, narration, use of simple present for

demonstration and commentaries, present perfect, present perfect
continuous, present continuous also indicative of future action.

ii) Simple past: past time reference, past perfect, past perfect continuous

Unit IV Literature

i) R. K. Narayan
ii) Rabindharanath Tagore
iii) Leo Tolstoy
(Read and review one book of each writer)

Unit No. Theme Page No

1. Role of Language

2. Position of Languages in India

3. Descriptive Grammar

4. Literature


Role of Language


(a) Language: Concept, Importance and Linguistic


(b) Language and Society: Language and Gender;

Language and Identity; Language and Power

(c) Language in School: Home Language and School

Language; language across the curriculum;

language and construction of knowledge;

difference between language as a school-subject

and language as a means of learning and

communication; multilingual classrooms.


By going through this unit, you will be able to understand:

 The definition, role and importance of language in our lives.

 Language as a source of our social identity.

 Difference between the formal and informal aspects of language.

 Role of language in construction of knowledge.

 Difference between Home Language and School Language.

I (a). Language: Concept, Importance and Linguistic Principles:

The word ‘Language’ has been derived from the Latin word Lingua which means ‘tongue’.

Language has been defined in various ways. Webster's New International Dictionary of the

English Language defines Language as:

“Language is any means, vocal or other, of expressing or communicating feeling or

thought ... a system of conventionalized signs, especially words or gestures having fixed


For Ferdinand de Saussure:

“Language is a system of signs that expresses ideas.”

The prominent British linguist, Henry Sweet defines language in the following words:

“Language is the expression of ideas by means of speech-sounds combined into words.

Words are combined into sentences, this combination answering to that of ideas into


For the American linguists Bernard Bloch and George L. Trager:

“A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group


Eminent linguist Edward Sapir observes:

“Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas,

emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols.”

For eminent American linguist Mario Pei:

“Language is a system of communication by sound, operating through the organs of

speech and hearing, among members of a given community, and using vocal symbols

possessing arbitrary conventional meanings.”

O. Jesperson states:

“Language is a set of human habits, the purpose of which is to give expression to

thoughts and feelings.”

From these definitions of language, one can deduce that language is a special human ability and

a system of communication which comprises of a set of symbols or sounds which humans use in

an ordered and organized way to communicate meaning in interacting with one another.

Language has an enormous significance in the lives of human beings. Through it we are able to

convey our thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is simply impossible to think of our daily

existence without language; it is inextricably linked to the whole domain of human activities—

daily interactions, interpersonal relationships, education, art, literature, politics, economics,

religion, science, technology, etal. The conventional and the most widely used form of language

is undoubtedly the spoken form. But at times, language can also take the form of manual, written

or digital symbols. The progress of mankind may not have taken place without language.

Through language, we come to know about the world. Language is without a doubt directly

related to the social existence of human beings in how they interact with one another besides

being a medium for the construction of knowledge. Human language, though often taken for

granted, is a unique, complex and efficient system of sounds whose properties give human

beings remarkable primacy over other species. Even though studies have revealed that animals

do have certain limited systems of communication, but they are no match to the complexity,

efficiency and advancement of the human language. According to R L Trask, “Human language

is arguably the single most remarkable characteristic that most truly sets our species apart.”

There is no appropriate information available regarding the number of languages being spoken

all across the world because of a large number of dialects and sub-dialects of different languages.

Some studies reveal that the number of languages spoken in the world is estimated to be around

7,000, approximately. Languages are classified into different Language Families depending upon

the source of their common origin. There are 90 such Language Families, to which, according to

linguists, languages spoken in various parts of the world owe their origin. Among these,

the Indo-European or Proto Indo-European family of languages is the most widely spoken in the

world and includes languages as diverse as English, German, Russian and Hindi.

Origin of Language:

There has been much debate about the origin of language and also how human beings acquire or

learn language. Some researchers believe that the first signs of human language emerged some

two million years ago. Many studies conclude that during the course of human evolution, man

started to acquire certain ability in his mind which enabled him to speak. Some scientists of

language ascribe its early origin to the homo sapiens when in the course of their evolution, a

change occurred in their primate communication systems. It is also believed that this important

development in the human communication system coupled with an increase in the brain volume

and gradually the structures of language came into existence to carry out the specific

communicative, psychological and social functions. Human language is controlled and regulated

by many parts in the human brain, but mainly in Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. The study of the

origin of human language has fascinated many philosophers and theorists ever since the ancient

times. Many theories have been postulated regarding the origin of language which put forward

various insights regarding the origin of language.

Some of these theories are as under:

 The Bow-Wow Theory:

According to this theory, language originated when early humans started imitating the natural

sounds around them. The first speech was onomatopoeic marked by echoic words such as moo,

meow, splash, cuckoo, and bang.

 The Ding-Dong Theory:

This theory argues that speech emerged in response to the essential qualities of objects in the

environment. The original sounds people made were supposedly in harmony with the world

around them. This theory was particularly favoured by Plato and Pythagoras in ancient Greece.

 The La-La Theory:

This theory was propounded by Danish linguist Otto Jespersen. It states that language may have

developed from sounds associated with love, play, and (especially) song.

 The Pooh-Pooh Theory:

This theory holds that speech emerged with interjections and emotional exclamations--

spontaneous cries of pain like “Ouch!”, surprise (“Oh!”), and other emotions.

 The Yo-He-Ho Theory:

According to this theory, language evolved from the grunts, groans, and snorts evoked by heavy

physical labour which the early humans carried out.

Much of these speculative theories were enlisted and published by historical linguist, Max

Muller in 1861. In their entirety, they are neither true nor false, but do offer some valuable hints

regarding the language origin. Despite all these theories, it is worth mentioning that there has

been no consensus on how the language actually emerged; it is more or less still a moot point

among the scholars, historians and scientists of language.

Properties of Human Language:

As noted earlier, Human language is quite unique and complex in having certain properties

which other creatures’ system of communication lack. Human language has six unique traits

which establish the huge contrast between our system of communication and the systems of

communication among animals and other creatures. Although all living beings communicate in

their unique way, what sets the human language system apart is precisely those six unique

properties. These properties are as under:

 Productivity:- This property makes our language purposeful. This allows us to produce

communication and emit messages that will be used for further tasks. Although most

living beings produce their own communication for their own common needs, human

language is unique in that it comes in both written and oral form and both serve the same


 Creativity:- It bestows our language with the ability to use the already established norms

of grammar, morphology and syntax to constantly create new words, complete with new

semantic goals.

 Displacement:- This property allows humans to describe or refer to things that are not

visually present during the course of communication. This property allows us to think and

describe the things not present before our eyes, but may be separated from us in both time

and space. Using this property shows that words are still valid with or without visual


 Arbitrariness:- This property of our language makes possible the fact that written words

and spoken words do not necessarily have to correlate in terms of sound and symbol. We

can write a word and pronounce it completely different. There is nothing in the word

‘table’ or its pronunciation that actually relates it to the structure of the actual object of

table that it represents. Except onomatopoeic words like “oink”, “meow”, “roar”, “chirp”,

“boom”, “splash”, “bang”, “cuckoo”, “tic, tic”, etc. , all linguistic terms are arbitrary

 Duality:- It is also called Double articulation. It is that property of our language which

allows the words to be broken apart into chunks. Those chunks may or may not have a

meaning; however, they are extremely useful to form new words. A wonderful example

of such important word chunks are suffixes and prefixes. Also, our language can either be

spoken or represented through written letters, symbols or pictures.

 Cultural Transmission:- Human language acquire their language from socio-cultural

settings rather than from parental genes. The first language is always acquired in a

specific culture. Human language is passed on from one generation to the next within a

cultural setting. Human beings are not born speaking a specific language even though as

philosophers like Chomsky argue they are definitely born with an innate ability or

predisposition to acquire language.

 Discreteness:- This property enables that sounds used in language are meaningfully

distinct, i.e., each sound in the language is treated as discrete. Human beings have a very

discrete view of the sounds of language and wherever a pronunciation falls within the

physically possible range of sounds, it will be interpreted as linguistically specific and

meaningfully distinct sound.

In their early age, humans acquire language in the social setting through rigorous interaction with

the rest of the society. Language is perhaps the most important ingredient in human culture. It is

so because it not only fulfills our communicative needs, language has a number of social and

cultural functions like it is closely linked to the social identity, social stratification and behaviour

Another important feature of human languages is that they evolve and diversify over time, and

quite often the history of their development can be traced by comparing modern languages to

find out the different traits which they share with their ancestral languages for their later


The study of human language has always been a fascinating subject for the scholars. This interest

is gauged by the fact that early traces of a proper study of human language can be dated back to

the ancient Greek, Roman, Indian and Chinese civilizations. The branch of scientific studies

which deals with the study of language is called Linguistics. Much of modern study of language

is inspired by the studies of two famous linguists in 20th centuries—Swiss Ferdinand de Saussure

and American Noam Chomsky. Prior to the 20th century, languages would be studied mainly in

terms of their historical evolution which involved comparing one language with the other in a

single family of languages in order to establish their historical similarity and source. But

linguistics aims to encapsulate the study of language in a scientific manner by carrying out a

systematic and objective analysis of the form, meaning and context of language. This involves

studying and analyzing the human language by detecting the close relationship between sound

and meaning. Linguistics also deals with the social, cultural, historical and political aspects that

have a bearing on the language as often, it is these factors which often determine and shape

linguistic and language-based context. It has thus led to the development of a variety of

interdisciplinary branches where linguistics comes into sync with other branches. Some of these

branches are: Psycholinguistics; which studies language in relation to the human psychology,

Sociolinguistics; which studies language in relation to the society and its variation in relation to

the social factors, Applied linguistics; which studies the application of insights from theoretical

linguistics to practical matters such as language teaching, remedial linguistic therapy, language

planning or whatever, Phonetics; which studies the sounds produced by human beings in their

speech behaviour, Biolinguistics; which studies natural as well as human-taught communication

systems in animals, compared to human language, Computational Linguistics; which studies

linguistic issues in a way that is ‘computationally responsible’, i.e., taking careful note of

computational consideration of algorithmic specification and computational complexity, so that

the linguistic theories devised can be shown to exhibit certain desirable computational properties

implementations, Neurolinguistics; which studies the structures in the human brain that underlie

grammar and communication, Stylistics; which studies linguistic factors that place a discourse in


In the early 20th century, Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure came up with the idea of

structural linguistics in his famous work Course in General Linguistics (which was

posthumously published in 1916 by his two students and was based on the lectures that he had

given at the University of Geneva). This revolutionized the whole history of language study

forever as a new and innovative method based on scientific principles came into being. Structural

linguistics believes that the human language is a self-contained structure related to other

elements which make up its existence. During the formulation of structural linguistics, Saussure

distinguished between the notions of langue and parole, and also sign, signifier and

signified. Parole is the specific utterance of speech, whereas Langue refers to an abstract

phenomenon that determines the principles and system of rules that govern a language. Sign is a

psychological but arbitrary entity that comprises of the two associative components—concept

(signified) and sound-image (signifier). The main aspect of structural linguistics is that the

human language can only be studied through its network of relationships which comprise of the

sign and the system or structure of the language. This implies that a sign lacks its meaning

inherently; it only gets its meaning in relation to or in contrast with other signs in a system of

signs. According to Saussure, the linguistic sign is neither conceptual nor phonic, neither thought

nor sound. Rather, it is the whole of the link that unites sound and idea, signifier and signified.

Saussure himself defines a sign in the following words: “A sign is not a link between a thing and

a name, but between a concept and a sound pattern.” Saussure further adds that a linguist can

develop a diachronic analysis of a text or theory of language but must learn just as much or more

about the language/text as it exists at any moment in time which is known as a “synchronic”

study. Further work on Structural Linguistics was carried out by American linguists like Edward

Sapir, Benjamin Lee Whorf and Leonard Bloomfield. Sapir and Whorf came up with what is

known as the principle of linguistic relativity which holds that the structure of a language affects

its speaker’s world view or cognition or put simply, language determines thought. These

propositions are put together in what is popularly known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis,

or Whorfianism.

Leonard Bloomfield influenced much of the studies pertaining to the behavioural linguistics. In

his works, he laid prime focus on the scientific basis of the language study and formal

procedures for the analysis of linguistic data. Bloomfield, alongwith prominent American

behavioural psychologist, B F Skinner, showed a particular inclination for behaviourism while

studying language. This theory posits that language is a set of habits that can be acquired by

means of conditioning and that it is essentially acquired and learned in environment. It was later

on highly contested by Noam Chomsky.

The assumptions of the Structural Linguistics were later on challenged in the mid-twentieth

century by Noam Chomsky whose formulations ushered in another school of linguistics which

came to be known as Cognitive Linguistics. The basic premise of Chomsky’s linguistic theory or

cognitive linguistics is the deep relation between human mind and language which is a strong

rebuttal to the behaviourist view propounded by B F Skinner, Leonard Bloomfield and others.

For Chomsky, language, as a complex and sophisticated system of communication is a unique

evolutionary development of the human species and is starkly distinct from the modes of

communication used by other animal species. Chomsky argues that the principles underlying the

structure of language are biologically determined in the human mind and hence genetically

transmitted. It thus implies that all human beings share the same underlying linguistic structure

regardless of their racial, social, cultural or any other difference.

Chomsky’s cognitivist view of language is in consonance with the philosophical school of

rationalism. What Chomsky’s linguistic theory means is that a human being is born with an

innate mental ability or cognitive structures (rules and knowledge of the underlying structure of

language). It is this innate linguistic ability or the language acquisition device (LAD), as he calls

it, which the animals lack unlike human beings. Chomsky further opines that the task for

linguists should be to determine what the LAD is and what limitations it imposes on the range of

possible human languages. The universal features that would result from these constraints

constitute Universal Grammar. The Universal Grammar posits that a certain set of structure of

language is innate to humans and are totally independent of sensory experience. When children

obtain linguistic stimuli during the course of their psychological development, they then adopt

specific syntactic rules of their mother tongue that fall in line with the Universal Grammar. Thus,

a growing up child only needs to learn certain insular features of his/her mother tongue in order

to get a full grasp. Chomsky based this particular argument on his observations about human

being’s first language or mother tongue acquisition. He notes that there is a massive gap between

the finite linguistic stimuli in the form of utterances to which children are exposed and the

infinite linguistic knowledge (the ability to utter an infinite number of utterances in correct order)

of their mother tongue that they acquire. This argument has come to be known as Poverty of the

Stimulus argument. This comprehensive knowledge of language and its acquisition at a rapid

rate by a child, Chomsky believes, is not possible without an innate linguistic capacity.

After laying bare the assumptions of structural linguistics, Chomsky introduces what is known as

the Transformational Grammar. Chomsky’s theory posits that language consists of both deep

structures and surface structures. Surface Structure faces out in the form of spoken utterances

which Chomsky also calls Performance while the deep innate structure, which Chomsky also

calls Competence, faces inwards and expresses the underlying relations between words and

conceptual meaning. Transformational grammar, as Chomsky defines, “is a generative

grammar which dictates that the syntax, or word order, of surface structures adheres to certain

principles and parameters that consists of a limited series of rules, expressed in mathematical

notation, which transform deep structures into well-formed surface structures.” The

transformational grammar thus relates meaning and sound.

1 (b): Language and Society: Language and Gender; Language and Identity; Language

and Power

Since language is both a system of communication between individuals and a vivid social

experience. As already described, the branch of linguistics which deals with the study of

interrelationship between language and society is called Sociolinguistics. It basically studies how

the practical use of language is determined by such factors as class, culture, gender, race, etc.

The emergence of the sociolinguistics can be approximately dated back to the middle of the

twentieth century. But even before this, there were scholars who stated how the use of language

was influenced or governed by socially relevant factors, such as class, profession, age or gender.

1 b .i) Language and Gender:

There are significant factors or intersections where one can see language being influenced or

governed by gender among other social factors. Extensive research studies carried out in the

domain of sociolinguistics have all proved this. This intersection is manifested in how varieties

of speech mainly and writing occasionally are determined by gender, gender relations, gendered

practices and sexuality. The study of the intersecting relationship between language on the one

hand and gender, culture, and identity on the other hand reveals, in the words of Alessandro

Duranti, “the logic of the encoding of sex differences in languages to analyze the oppressive

implications of ordinary speech to explain miscommunication between men and women, to

explore how gender is constructed and interacts with other identities, and to investigate the role

of language in helping establish gender identity as part of a broader range of processes through

which membership in particular groups is activated, imposed, and sometimes contested through

the use of linguistic forms.” Studies of the relationship between language and gender have

further revealed how language is used to reproduce, naturalize, and contest gender ideologies.

From our early years of upbringing, we start to act out gender roles from a range of masculine

and feminine characteristics. This ensures that we not only become gender conscious in order to

follow the acceptable norms of the society, but are also involved in the process of our own

gendering and the gendering of others throughout our lives. For feminist scholars, gender is a

cultural construct which is constructed by the dominant patriarchy. Hence, in their observations,

in language also, this gendering is enacted in the specific ways by infusing gender references into

the language. It is to be remembered that the study of how language and gender interact with one

another also warrants a close exploration of the social practices in which both of them are

together produced.

In the western world and more specifically in USA during the late 1960s and early 1970s,

women started to vigorously scrutinize and critique the various socially accepted practices that

supported gender discrimination. In the academic domain, women scholars and a few male

feminists began to examine the practices and methods of their disciplines to go at the root of the

gender inequalities and a possible elimination of them. This led to the development of many

interdisciplinary research fields including the study of Language and Gender. This full-fledged

effort was initiated in 1975 by three prominent books-- Male/Female Language by Mary Ritchie

Key, Language and Women's Place by Robin Lakoff, and Language and Sex: Difference and

Dominance by Barrie Thorne and Nancy Hedley. The latter two still continue to be the works of

immense influence on the sociolinguistic studies.

Deborah Tannen investigates interactions between women and men as a kind of cross-cultural

communication and firmly establishes interactional sociolinguistics as a useful approach to

gendered interaction. Her general audience book You Just Don’t Understand (1990) offers

insights into everyday communication habits of speakers of both males and females.

Studies in the area of language and gender try to focus on the broad and sustained interest in the

varieties of speech associated with the specific gender, how particular social norms and

conventions determine the gendered language use, and also how gender is constructed and

practicalized in the language.

The effect of gender on language is such that sometimes a distinct variant of speech or

‘sociolect’ in the sociolinguistic terms is referred to as a genderlect. There are several ways in

which gender or its place in the social order is reflected by various speech practices. According

to Robin Lakoff, the distinct American sociolinguist, there exists a “women’s register” in the

language or languages by which the inferior role of women is maintained in the society. For

Lakoff, women like to use linguistic forms that show their subordinate role in the society and the

way they use these utterances further enhances their subordinate position. To illustrate her

observations, Lakoff comes up with such linguistic examples as tag questions, question

intonation, and “weak” directives, among others to show the position of women in the society in

the course of their social conversations and interactions particularly with regards to men.

However, Lakoff has also been criticized for her observations and has been termed as a “deficit

approach” because it puts more emphasis on the linguistic deficiency of one gender (that of

women) with regards to the other.

But even before Lakoff, sociolinguists had come up with this “deficit approach” fallacy. In his

book Language: Its Nature and Development, famous Danish linguist Otto Jespersen had come

up with the idea that women’s speech is deficient relative to that of males but this largely

remained uncontested. Nonetheless Jespersen contributed to the field of language and gender

studies in how language changes, lexical and phonological differences in the language were

influenced by the gender roles.

Critiquing Lakoff’ s arguments, Jennifer Coates comes up with what she termed as the

“dominance approach”, which puts forward the idea that gender differences in language show

power differences between males and females in the society.

Another sociolinguist Deborah Tannen comes up with the idea of Difference which is an

approach of equality, differentiating men and women as belonging to different sub-cultures as

they have been socialised to do so since childhood. This then results in the varying

communicative styles of men and women. Tannen compares gender differences in language to

cultural differences. While observing different conversational purposes, she argues that men

show a general inclination in using what she terms as “report style”, which aims to mainly

communicate factual information, whereas women more often show the tendency to use a

“rapport style”, which is more concerned with building and maintaining relationships. She

further argues that these differences are omnipresent across all the domains, viz. media,

including face-to-face conversation, written essays of primary school children, email, and even

toilet graffiti.

However, scholars like Deborah Cameron, argue that there are difficulties with both the

dominance and the difference approach. Cameron finds a general tendency in the history of

scholarship on language and gender which makes the male-associated forms as the main

reference point and then consequently, female forms are shown as deviating from that norm.

Cameron, for instance, provides the example in which the norm “manager”, “administrator”, and

other such forms which become the acceptable form while forms like “manageress” and

“administratress”, when referring to a female counterpart, are seen as deviating from the norm.

As much of the study reveals, communication styles are mainly a product of the specific context,

and as such, gender differences tend to be most pronounced in single-gender groups. One reason

given for this is that people accommodate their language towards the style of the person they are

interacting with. Thus, in a mixed-gender group, gender differences are less reflected. A

similarly important observation is that this accommodation is usually towards the language style,

not the gender of the person. For instance, a polite and soft-spoken male will be mainly accepted

on the basis of these qualities rather than on the basis of his gender.

It is generally held perception that in contrast to men, women speak any language better.

However, a number of linguists reject this as a regular misconception. They believe that no

gender speaks a better language; instead each gender speaks its own specific and unique

language. In the recent times, this particular idea has led to further research into the study of the

differences between the way men and women speak and communicate. It is also noteworthy that

not all members of a particular sex are bound to follow the specific gender roles that are

prescribed by society.

Scholars in the field of language and gender study have come up with the following differences

through which men and women differ in their act of communication. It is to be kept in mind that

many of these differences may not form a generalized rule; they are more visible in the specific

contexts of conversation:

Minimal Responses:

Minimal responses or paralinguistic features, as linguists call them, such as “mm” and “yeah”,

which is behaviour associated with collaborative language use. Observations have revealed that

men generally use them less frequently than women, and when they do, it is usually to show

agreement. But it has to be kept in mind that it is not a generalized difference; minimal responses

could be only employed for interactive functions, rather than gender-specific functions.


Some studies also reveal that men and women differ in their making use of questions in

conversations. For men, it is believed, a question is more often than not a valid request for

information whereas with women it can often be a symbolic means of engaging the other’s

conversational contribution or of acquiring attention from others conversationally. However, a

study carried out by two sociolinguists, Alice Freed and Alice Greenwood, in 1996 showed that

there was no significant difference in the use of questions between men and women, and that it

was all based on the contexts of conversation.


As the studies by some sociolinguists reveal especially that of Victoria De Francisco, female

linguistic behaviour characteristically includes a longing to take turns in conversation with

others, which is opposed to men’s inclination towards centering on their own point or remaining

silent when confronted with such hidden offers of conversational turn-taking with such terms as

“why”, “you know”, “isn’t it”, etal.

Changing the Topic of Conversation:

A study carried out by Bruce Dorval on the same-sex friend interaction reveals that men are

inclined to change subject more commonly than women. This difference may well be at the root

of the conception that women chatter and talk too much. Goodwin’s study observes that girls and

women link their utterances to previous speakers and develop each other’s topics, rather than

introducing new topics.


It has been found that in contrast to men, women show a more tendency toward self-disclosure,

i.e., sharing their problems and experiences with others, generally to offer kindness and

sympathy. It contrasts with male propensity to non-self disclosure and granting advice or

offering a solution when confronted with another’s problems. Men and women have completely

different views of self-disclosure. Developing a close relationship with another person requires a

certain level of intimacy, or self-disclosure. That is why it is normally much easier to get to

know a woman than it is to get to know a man. It has been proven that women get to know

someone on a more personal level and they are more likely to desire to share their feelings.

In the current age of information technology, it has been found that people share more via

technology. This phenomenon is known as Computer Mediated Communication or CMC. This

form of communication generally involves text messages which are purely non-verbal. Men and

women are both more likely to self-disclose on the computer than they would be face to face.

People are more confident when using Computer Mediated Communication because

communication is faceless and distant, which makes it easier to disclose information.

Verbal Aggression:

Psychologists are of the opinion that aggression is generally defined by its three interconnected

corresponding ways: indirect, relational and social. Indirect aggression occurs when the victim is

attacked through secret and concealed attempts to cause social suffering. Examples are

gossiping, exclusion or ignoring of the victim. Relational aggression, while similar to indirect, is

more definite in its attentions. It can be a threat to terminate a friendship or spreading false

rumors. The third type of aggression, social aggression, “is directed toward damaging another

person’s self-esteem, social status, or both, and may take direct forms such as verbal rejection,

negative facial expressions or body movements, or more indirect forms such as slanderous

rumours or social exclusion.” This third type is the most common in adolescent behaviour found

in equal proportions in males and females.

For years, all research on aggression focused largely on males because it was believed females

show an inherent liking towards non-confrontation. Recently, however, studies, like the one

carried out by William Cupach and Brian Spitzberg in 2011, have revealed that while “boys tend

to be more overtly and physically aggressive, girls are more indirectly, socially, and relationally

aggressive.” Physical and social aggression appears at different points in life. Physical

aggression occurs in a person’s second year and continues till preschool. Children use this

aggression to obtain something they want that is otherwise denied or another has. In preschool,

children become more socially aggressive and this progresses through adolescence and

adulthood. Social aggression is not used to acquire materialistic things but to accomplish social


In adolescence, social aggression boosts female’s popularity by maintaining and controlling the

social hierarchy. Furthermore, males are also ranked higher in popularity if they are physically

aggressive. But, if males practice relational or social aggression then they are seen as unpopular

among their age-group. When it comes to different forms social aggression, males are more

prone to use direct measures and females indirect.

Listening and Attentiveness:

In any conversation, all the meaning does not reside in the words spoken, but it is deduced by the

person listening. Each person decides if they think others are speaking in the spirit of differing

status or balanced connection. The likelihood that individuals will tend to interpret someone

else’s words as one or the other depends more on the hearer’s own focus, concerns, and habits

than on the spirit in which the words were intended. It is generally found that women attach more

weight than men to the importance of listening in conversation, with its connotations of power to

the listener as confidant of the speaker. This attachment of import by women to listening is

inferred by women’s normally lower rate of interruption, i.e., disrupting the flow of conversation

with a topic unrelated to the previous one and by their largely increased use of minimal

responses in relation to men. Men, however, interrupt far more frequently with non-related

topics, especially in the mixed sex setting and, far from rendering a female speaker’s responses

minimal, are apt to greet her conversational spotlights with silence, as the work of Victoria De

Francisco demonstrates.

When men talk, women listen and agree. However, men tend to misinterpret this agreement,

which was intended in a spirit of connection, as a reflection of status and power. But when

women listen to men, they are not necessarily thinking in terms of status, but in terms of

connection and support.


Robin Lakoff identifies three forms of politeness: formal, deference, and camaraderie.

Accordingly, Women’s language is characterized by formal and deference politeness, whereas

men’s language is exemplified by camaraderie.

Politeness in speech is described in terms of positive and negative face. Positive face refers to

one’s desire to be liked and admired, while negative face refers to one’s wish to remain

autonomous and not to suffer imposition. Both forms, according to Penelope Brown, are used

more frequently by women whether in mixed or single-sex pairs which suggests a greater

sensitivity in women than men to face the needs of others. In simpler words, women are to all

intents and purposes largely more polite than men.

I b ii). Language and Identity:

In relation to the language study, identity is defined as “how a person understands his or her

relationship to the world, how that relationship is structured across time and space, and how the

person understands possibilities for the future.” Since language is chiefly regarded as a societal

practice, it is closely related to the construction of one’s identity. In turn, it also shows how

language may be constructed or influenced by a variety of relationships. Humans speak and

employ language in the collective life in many ways and so is the concept of identity which is

itself many-sided. This means that language users are social participants whose identities are

multiple and varied based on their diverse everyday lived experiences. Through participation in

their routine socio-cultural roles, individuals inhabit particular social identities, and use their

understandings of their social roles and relationships to others to mediate their social

involvement with themselves and others. It is noteworthy that these various social identities are

not stable or fixed across contexts, but rather undergo constant change across time and space.

This has an impact also on how we think or speak as has been also argued by C Weedon.

In the contexts of our experience we use language not as solitary, isolated individuals giving

voice to personal intentions. But, we use language primarily as social actors and users in which

every social action and position is subject to change and contingency. Social action becomes a

site of dialogue, in some cases of consensus and in others of struggle. We put in the use of

language accordingly. In our acts of communication, we express all the socio-cultural tendencies

which shape our identity. While language is a creation of the socio-historical circumstances, at

times, it can also be an instrument for forming and transforming one’s individual and collective

identity. Language enables one to either reproduce identities and meanings or construct new

ones. In reproducing historically accomplished structures, interlocutors may use conventional

forms in conventional ways to constitute the local social situation.

When we use language in the real life situations, we do so as individuals with our strong links to

our culture, society and history. Our personal identities are always defined in part by our

membership in a range of social groups into which we are born such as gender, social class,

religion and race. For instance, we are born as female or male and into a specific social or

economic class that defines us accordingly as poor or rich. In a similar way, we may be born as

Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, or with some other religious affiliation, and will thus put on individual

identities given to us by our particular religious association. Even the geographical region in

which we are born provides us with a particular group membership and upon our birth we

assume specific identities such as, for instance, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, and so on.

Then there is a larger national identity which depends on the country of our birth. We also

acquire a different set of identities through our interaction with the social institutions that

comprise our communities, such as family, school, place of worship, and the workplace. These

institutions give shape to the kinds of groups to which we have access and to the role-

relationships we can establish with others. For instance, within the institution of family, we may

take on our roles as parents, children, siblings or cousins and through these roles fashion

particular relationships with others such as mother and daughter, brother and sister, and husband

and wife. Likewise, in our workplaces, we may assume roles as doctors, teachers, lawyers,

supervisors, managers, etal. These roles afford us access to particular activities and to particular

role-defined relationships. For example, as a managing head of a company, our role is well

defined---we have access to and can participate in board meetings, business deals and job

interviews, things that other employees of the company cannot do. This way our various social

positions establish role-relationships that are unique to these positions. Our various group

memberships, along with the values, beliefs and attitudes associated with them, are significant to

the development of our individual and social identities in that they define in part the kinds and

uses of language we employ to enact those social roles. This shows the huge importance of

language in shaping and constructing our various social identities.

While our social identities and roles are to a great extent shaped by the groups and communities

to whom we belong, the role of our individuality is not entirely redundant. As individual agents,

we also have a vital role in shaping them. In our use of language, we represent a particular

identity at the same time that we construct it. The degree of individual effort we can exert in

shaping our identities, however, is not always equal. Rather, it depends on the specific socio-

cultural contexts.

After the insightful explorations of eminent thinkers like Bourdieu, Giddens and Foucault, much

of the current research on language, culture and identity focuses on the ways in which

individuals use language to co-construct their everyday worlds and, in particular, their own

social roles and identities and those of others. These studies drive home the point that identity is

multiple and varied, individual representations of which embody particular social histories that

are built up through and continually recreated in one’s everyday experiences. One particularly

productive area of focus has been on identity construction of second language learners. One early

influential study is that by Norton (Norton, 2000; Pierce, 1995) on immigrant women learning

English in Canada. Using data sources such as personal diaries and interviews, Norton illustrates

how these women’s identities were differentially constructed in their interactions with others in

and out of the classroom. She argues that these different constructions had a significant influence

on the women’s interest in language learning, making some more willing than others to invest

the time and effort needed to learn English.

From quite some time now, focus of attention in research on language use and identity has been

on the creative formation of hybrid social identities through speech stylisation and language

crossing. This emerging focus is due in part to the rise in global migration, which has brought

individuals and groups from different countries into sustained contact with each other.

As defined by Rampton (2009: 149), stylisation involves “reflexive communicative action in

which speakers produce specially marked and often exaggerated representations of languages,

dialects, and styles that lie outside their own habitual repertoire. . . . Crossing . . . involves a

stronger sense of social or ethnic boundary transgression.” Rampton’s (2005) study is a

compelling example of these phenomena. His central concern was with the ways in which youths

from mixed-race peer groups in Britain used language to construct hybrid identities. The groups

were ethnically mixed, and included not only Anglos but also youths from Caribbean, Indian and

Pakistani descent. Using observations and interviews in addition to audio-tapes as his primary

sources of data, Rampton found that the youngsters often used the languages associated with

each other’s ethnic and racial identities in creative, unexpected ways. For example, he found that

Afro-Caribbean youths often made use of Punjabi in their interactions with others. Rampton calls

such uses ‘crossing’ and found that they occurred most often when individuals wanted to mark

their stances towards particular social relationships. Asian adolescents, for example, often used

stylised Asian English with teachers in their schools to feign a minimal level of English language

competence and thus playfully resist teacher attempts to involve them in class activities. The

youths also ‘crossed’ when playing games with their peers, or when they interacted with

members of the opposite sex.

All this shows the complex interplay through which language interacts with identity and vice-


1 b iii). Language and Power:

Power can be defined as the ability of an individual, institution or discourse to affect, influence,

control or coerce individuals and things. Powerful institutions and individuals often interact to

support each other, building power structures. Power structures use public discourse to

strengthen their own control, and to weaken the power of other groups as is done in the case of

one powerful individual, country or company dominating others. Among all other discourses,

perhaps, language is the single most important system which can be manipulated to assert power

most markedly in the world—both individual and collective. The relationship between language

and power has always been a fascinating subject for thinkers and philosophers in different eras. It

has gained more attention in the modern times especially with the advent of theories like

postmodernism. Eminent postmodern theorist, Michel Foucault, through his discourse analysis,

illustrates how various power relationships in the society are expressed through language. The

method analyzes how the social world, expressed through language, is affected by various

sources of power. This method implies how our society is being shaped or constructed by

language, which in turn reflects existing power relationships. Yet, the relationship between

language and power has multiple aspects. It is simply not the case that language can be put in the

service of power; it can also be used to challenge and undermine power. So we can infer that

language, it seems, possesses power of a very special kind itself.

While describing the relationship between power and language, one needs to keep in mind the

two consider two distinctive aspects of language: One in which language acts as public

discourse, i.e., the language used in the public domains like print media, television and radio, and

now, on the internet, and secondly, language as interpersonal communication in which language

is used when we as individuals interact with other individuals in the social settings, e.g., friends

talking, doctor and patient, teacher and students. In the exploration of relations between

‘language & power’ one needs to differentiate public power from personal power. Public power

is the ability to shape public opinion, and thus to change or maintain the social reality. It is

controlled by institutions, but also by more vaguely defined ideological collectives. On the other

hand, Personal power is the ability to change or maintain one’s local social reality. It arises from

social roles, social relationships, and personal language competence.

For the power to assert and manifest itself, it necessarily uses language, or gets conveyed

through it and manifested in it in the form of commands, dictates and orders which others must

hear and obey. This is regarded as an ‘instrumentalisation’ of language for the purpose of

exercising power. The command of language itself becomes a means of power in the form of

rabble rousing, political rhetoric, demagogy, ideology and bemusement and persuasion which we

see being resorted to in the public lives. This power of language extends from large political

contexts, from the manner of speaking and thus also of thinking that authoritarian and totalitarian

systems force upon dominated people in every aspect of life using media, multimedia forms,

education and even religion to achieve this. Eminent sociolinguist, Norman Fairclough, in his

book Language and Power talks of two ways to exercise power – through physical coercion, or

through manufacture of consent. The latter involves convincing people that they should accept

things as they are, or accept proposed changes. Physical coercion is deemed as less useful as it

works on only small numbers at a time, and may not have long term applicability. Thus, the

manufacture of consent is a much preferred vehicle for exercising power. For this purpose, the

public media, through its crafty manipulation of language, are the prime vehicle for

manufacturing consent, as it can get into contact with large numbers of people, who willingly

read/listen/watch to the media.

The relationship between power and personal interaction is an intricate one. A person who is

more gifted and skillful in conversations can achieve his/her interactional goals better than an

unskilled one. In a conversation, skilled direction of topics allows one to discuss the issues that

one needs address and to avoid those which he/she doesn’t want to address. On the other hand, a

conversationalist’s power to manipulate these dialogic strategies often derives in part from one’s

social role or standing. In some cases, the ability to assert such power can stem from the fact that

the participant represents the institution which ‘houses’ the dialogue (e.g., receptionist, police

interviewer, TV interviewer, teacher). Directing the flow of topics (through initiation and

interruption) is more appropriate for those in the host institution. Social status also helps, for

instance, when two speakers are competing for the floor, the more respected individual often

wins out.

These two arguments – power as command of the language and power through social roles – are

often interlinked. The more developed your linguistic skills, the more likely you are to develop

social respect, and also the more likely you are to be able to negotiate into socially powerful

positions. And in turn, the respect you gain from being in a socially respected situation allows

one to act with confidence, and thus increase your skills. In short, power in a conversation,

dialogue or debate can be derived from the control of two things— firstly, through the ‘control of

the floor’, which is the power to initiate exchanges, to maintain the floor, and to interrupt

exchanges one feels less important like the TV anchors often do; and secondly, through the

‘control of information’, which is the possession of negotiable information.

Till now, our analysis of the relations between power and language has portrayed two things. On

the one hand, that language and speaking must be carefully executed in the exercise of power.

On the other hand, the interpretation also gives an account that the power which is exercised

through language always already bears within itself the germ of its counter-power. For the

language of political demagogues and tyrants can be seen through as language and by means of

language itself. So that language conveys the power of violence or domination and at the same

time undermines it. For everyone can take possession of the power of language and in this way

see through and unmask the power exercised through language. Whoever speaks ultimately

depends on language. And even the most skilful speaker cannot entirely monopolize the power

of language. Ultimately, the power of language lies not with the speaker, but with language

itself. It appears that the power of language belongs to language itself. And so this power belongs

to everyone who possesses language. Whoever has a command of language has part in its power!

Language is not merely a instrument in the hands of power, but also always a counter-power

which cannot be restricted and repressed. Power can rest on many factors; for instance, on the

possession of weapons or money. These are in short supply and are not possessed by everyone.

This unequal division establishes the power of man over man. This establishes the connection

between power and inequality without telling anything about the power of language. Language is

possessed by everyone and anyone can use it to attain power and also to challenge others’ power.

1 (C) Language in School:

1 C i). Home Language and School Language:

A Home Language is defined as a language or a variety of languages most commonly spoken by

the members of a family for everyday interactions at home. It is the language that is spoken in

the student’s home. It is also known as the Family Language or Primary Language. In the

multilingual contexts, it is also called First Language, Native Language or Mother Tongue. It is

the language to which children are exposed in their homes and social settings. The children use

this language as a primary means of communication in their culture, and it identifies them with

their community or ethnic group. It is the language that a person learns at home, usually from

parents. Home language is the language or languages a person speaks the best and is often the

basis for sociolinguistic identity. However, at times, especially in the case of linguistic

minorities, the Home language may not be the language of the majority of the speakers. On the

other hand, School language is defined as the language used in textbooks, in classroom lectures,

and during examinations. It is often of a standard form and acts as a medium of instruction. In

our contexts, it is mainly English which is also a Foreign Language or Second Language.

However, in some countries, the Home Language and School Language may be one but might

differ in structure and vocabulary from the everyday spoken language of social interactions. The

Language used at home is different from that of school or such official institutions with its

mostly colloquial flavour. The language used at school besides being of a high standard is also

teacher centered as the student’s home language is not taken into consideration during the course

of the instruction. The School language is often relatively technical and abstract. The students are

restricted in the language which they are given opportunities to produce.

Since the school is a place where students belong to diverse cultures and social backgrounds and

use different dialects and idiolects at home, the teachers often use the highly standard or lofty

language inside the class room which might pose a difficulty for the students. In our own

contexts, even though a Foreign Language or Second Language (English for us) is to be taught

by using the target language itself, explaining and illustrating the usage of some grammatical

items by exemplifying the situations in the mother tongue of the student cannot be entirely

avoided. The curriculum designers, the syllabus framers, and above all, the teachers have to take

into account the cultural and social factors in formulating a comprehensive pedagogy for the

language teaching. Due regard has to be given to the culture and Home Language of different

students from different social and cultural back grounds. The Home Language cannot be

discarded entirely; as and when needed, it should be used to explain the items of the foreign

language. Ultimately, it is the home language which is an integral part of the emotional make up

of the learner. It is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the “critical

period” during the crucial time of his upbringing. The first language of a child is part of the

personal, social and cultural identity. Another impact of the first language is that it brings about

the reflection and learning of successful social patterns of acting and speaking. Research in the

field over the years suggests that while a non-native speaker may develop fluency in a targeted

language after about two years of engagement, it can actually take between five and seven years

for that child to be on the same working level as their native speaking counterparts. That has

implications on the education of non-native speakers. So all this is to be considered while

teaching in school in a different language. The high standard of the School Language can be or

should be often modulated accordingly to account for the needs of the young learners aiming to

learn the Foreign or Second language.

In our contexts, owing to the colonial legacy, English is not only our main Foreign or Second

language which we aim to learn from our early formative years, it is also a medium of

instruction in our whole education. However, in recent years, research findings have revealed

that learners benefit from using their home language in education in early grade years ahead of

their late primary or middle school stages. Among others this research includes the findings

carried out by D. August and T. Shanahan in their work Developing Reading and Writing in

Second-language Learners (2008) and M. Paez and C. Rinaldi in their paper Predicting English

Word Reading Skills for Non-English Speaking Students in First Grade (2006) in USA. Apart

from a little number of learners, belonging to urban, cosmopolitan and upper class settings, do

speak and understand some English by the time they are admitted in the school. But majority of

the learners in the rural areas or those belonging to the socially downtrodden classes enter school

with only their home language. For these learners, using the mother tongue in early education

leads to a better understanding of the things they are being taught and to a more positive attitude

towards school. One of the reasons given for this is that learning does not begin in school alone.

Learning starts at home in the learners’ home language. Although the start of school is a

continuation of this learning, it also presents significant changes in the mode of education. The

school system structures and controls the content and delivery of a pre-determined curriculum

where previously the child was learning from experience in what is known as an Experiential

Learning mode.

When admitted to the school first, children find themselves in a totally new physical

environment. The classroom is new, most of the classmates are strangers, the centre of authority

and attention is the teacher who is a stranger too. The structured way of learning is also new. In

addition to these things, the child also witnesses an abrupt change in the language of interaction

which makes things complex for him/her. There is a danger that it may negatively impact the

child’s progress. However, by using the learners’ home language, schools can help children find

the way through to the new environment and bridge their learning at school with the experience

they bring from home. Another reason is that by using the learners’ home language, learners are

more likely to engage in the learning process. The interactive learner-centered approach,

recommended by all experts, is most beneficial in an environment where learners are sufficiently

proficient in the language of instruction. It allows learners to make suggestions, ask questions,

answer questions and create and communicate new knowledge with enthusiasm. It gives learners

confidence and helps to affirm their cultural identity. This in turn has a positive impact on the

way learners see the relevance of school to their lives. On the contrary, it has been often found

that when the learners start school in a language that is still new to them, it leads to a teacher-

centered approach and reinforces passiveness and silence in classrooms. This in turn suppresses

young learners’ creative potential and liberty to express themselves freely. It makes dull the

enthusiasm of young minds, inhibits their creativity, and makes the learning experience

unpleasant. All of which is bound to have a negative effect on learning outcomes.

One of the significant aims and objectives of learning and teaching in the early years of

education is the development of basic literacy skills: reading, writing and arithmetic.

Interestingly, the skills of reading and writing come down to the ability to associate the sounds of

a language with the letters or symbols used in the written form. These skills build on the

foundational and interactional skills of speaking and listening. When learners speak or

understand the language used to instruct them, they develop reading and writing skills faster and

in a more meaningful way. Introducing reading and writing to learners in a language they speak

and understand leads to great excitement when they discover that they can make sense of written

texts and can write the names of people and things in their environment. Research studies have

revealed that learners who develop reading skills early do enjoy advantage in comprehension

over others. It has also been shown that skills and concepts taught in the learners’ home language

do not have to be re-taught when they transfer to a second language. A learner who knows how

to read and write in one language will develop reading and writing skills in a new language

faster. The learner already knows that letters represent sounds, the only new learning he or she

needs is how the new language ‘sounds’ its letters. In the same way, learners automatically

transfer knowledge acquired in one language to another language as soon as they have learned

sufficient vocabulary in the new language. For example, if you teach learners in their mother

tongue, that seeds need soil, moisture and warmth to germinate. You do not have to re-teach this

in English. When they have developed adequate vocabulary in English, they will translate the

information. Thus, knowledge and skills are transferable from one language to another. Starting

school in the learners’ mother tongue does not delay education but leads to faster acquisition of

the skills and attitudes needed for success in formal education. The use of Home language also

lessens the burden on a teacher since he/she is himself a non-native speaker. Teaching in the

home language appears more natural and less stressful for all. This will allow the teacher to be

more creative and innovative in designing teaching/learning materials and approaches, leading to

better outcomes.

To be precise, one can say that the use of learners’ home language during the course of teaching

and learning in the early stages allows for a smooth transition between home and school. It

means learners get more involved in the learning process and speeds up the development of basic

literacy skills. It also enables more flexibility, innovation and creativity in teacher preparation.

Using learners’ home language is also more likely to get the support of the general community in

the teaching/learning process and creates an emotional stability which translates to cognitive

stability and leads to a better educational outcome. However, while teaching the language itself,

the teacher has to make sure that he/she resorts to the use of Home Language in a judicious way.

There cannot be excessive dependence on the Home Language because there is a danger that its

excessive influences creep in and hamper the learner in his/her second language learning. So

there has to be a fine balance between the two, at least in the language teaching itself. At the pre-

primary and primary levels, the teacher might need more of the Home Language to make the

teaching effective and in the later stages, when the learner has matured in cognitive ability,

gradually and systematically, he/she could be exposed to the standard school language in an

unmodified way.

1 C ii). Language Across the Curriculum:

During the course of teaching and learning of any subject in schools, let alone the language

subject, the most important part is evidently the medium of instruction which is integral to

understand the subject contents. It is important to devise a single language across the curriculum

for an effective learning of both the language and non-language subjects. In our country and

state, we have adopted English as a medium of instruction. Experts are of the opinion that the

single language approach across the curriculum, like the one we have in our country, greatly

helps to improve students’ language proficiency and understanding of the contents of curriculum

and syllabus. This approach is especially useful in the way that integrates language learning and

content learning. There is also a necessity for the single language approach since language

cannot be effectively taught and learnt without a concrete context and also learning in all

subjects is dependent upon language.

This implies that language and content are closely interconnected. Contents of any subject can

only be conveyed through language and in turn, content subjects also provide a context for

language. Therefore it becomes necessary to integrate language and content which can only be

achieved through a single language across the curriculum. For an effective Language across the

Curriculum (LAC) approach, it is to be ensured that there is a coordinated effort at all levels of

the curriculum hierarchy in order to pave way for a sound formulation and implementation of the

language policy across the curriculum. This enables teachers to contribute and get support in

dealing with language in learning issues as well as to work for a common target. To use the

language to teach more effectively and help students learn more effectively.

In order to overcome the barriers which the learners face in coping with the new medium of

instruction and to learn the subject content better, in their classes, language teachers and

especially English teachers should introduce and teach the basic skills of language, and

foreground them from time to time. In their classes, the teachers of other subjects re-teach those

skills or introduce related skills, concepts or ideas in their lesson which blend language and


Experts in the field also suggest that it is imperative for the language teachers and non-language

subject teachers to be aware and in coordination regarding what they are teaching in their classes.

For example, if the language teacher teaches students how to build a vocabulary log, the non-

language subject teachers can then ask students to keep a vocabulary log in their own respective

subjects. But in this, the language teacher has to collect the vocabulary logs and check from time

to time to make sure that students are doing the exercise effectively. As every subject has to

contribute to the language development of students, a single language across the curriculum

makes sure that the balance between a focus on language itself and an emphasis on content is

maintained. Since more time and effort has to be spent on the development of students’ language

proficiency, the subject content may have to be reduced, especially at the initial stages.

1 C iii). Language and Construction of Knowledge:

Apart from carrying out the purpose of communication, language also acts as a medium through

which we disseminate knowledge, ideas and information. It is an established fact that for its

palpable representation and dissemination in both the academic and non-academic domains,

knowledge depends on language. Perhaps, our cognitive thinking is also somewhat related to the

language. Thinking about ideas is a purely mental process which may be independent of

language, but for the manifestation of these ideas, they have to be conveyed or expressed through

language. Without doubt, language exercises an enormous significance in our lives as has been

elaborated in detail in the previous topics. Since academic teaching and learning is essentially

about knowledge dissemination, the significance of language as the sole medium of knowledge

dissemination becomes all the more vital. Language acts as the main interpretive medium by

which knowledge pertaining to any discipline or field—Science, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences,

etal. is constructed and communicated. It is almost impossible to think of any discipline or body

of knowledge without language.

However, there are also many systems or disciplines of knowledge which are less dependent on

the medium of language for their expression. These are generally expressed in their distinct sign

or symbol system like mathematical writing, symbols, formulae, statistics, maps, diagrams,

photos, etc. In these subjects of knowledge, the signs are in an encoded and self-contained form,

but for the purposes of discussion, commentary or teaching, they are also put in the verbalized

form of language. But some knowledge has no existence or essence other than its verbal

representation. For instance, it is impossible that historical knowledge will exist outside the texts

of historians, even if it is established from data and evidence of all kinds which are commented

on and thoroughly analyzed. Similarly, all philosophy, albeit emanating from mental ideas, can

only be expressed through language alone. In these instances, language not only acts as an

interpretive medium, but also a place where knowledge is constructed. Also, in order to deduce

conclusions and solutions, physical sciences also use language for the purpose.

Yet, the relationship which language shares with language is multifaceted. There are reasons to

believe that much of knowledge does and can be established independent of the language.

However, this independently established knowledge needs language for its expression,

representation and propagation. Language may enact mediation on knowledge through the

process of verbalization which allows it to transfigure from one sign system to another.

Language also facilitates an unlimited interaction and exchanges in the form of arguments,

discourses, discussions, debates, theories, contestations between the various producers of

knowledge and between the producers and users of knowledge which leads to further creation of

knowledge and learning. Creativity is also enhanced through language because of its unbound

potential to produce which is a further add on to knowledge creation. To be precise, it can be

safely deduced that language is essential to knowledge which implies that in order to expound

knowledge successfully among the learners of all kinds, focus on the various functions of

language will lead to better results.

In the context of the school learning, whatever the subject, all processes and methods related to

knowledge building necessitate working with language. In the context of the teaching and

learning in the academic domain that we are concerned with, the focus should be more

specifically on the relationship between knowledge and the language of schooling. This not only

covers the authors/experts of curricula and textbooks and the designers of tests, but also teachers,

and especially teachers of non-language subjects. It is necessary to draw their attention to the

language components of work in their subject. The engagement with knowledge/language

relationship is also highly pertinent to teacher trainers, particularly those responsible for the

teaching of subjects or disciplines other than languages.

The exploration of the relationship between language and knowledge implies that knowledge

building in the different disciplines or subjects depends to a considerable extent on a sound

command of the scientific, artistic and technical discourses produced in the language of

schooling. Improving the skills of learners’ language range alongwith their proficiency in the

technical aspects of their various subjects should be one of the important goals of school


1 C iv). Difference between Language as a School-Subject and Language as a Means of

Learning and Communication:

It is said about the language learning that unlike other subjects, it does not need conventional

ways of teaching and learning necessarily. It is because language is picked up in the real settings

of a social environment as in the case of one’s mother tongue. The aim of language learning is

not to go too much into learning about the language but to learn the language itself. It may not

necessarily include the highly technical academic study of language. For instance, it is not

necessary that the academic study of language called linguistics will build anyone aspiring to

acquire proficiency in a particular language. However, languages are school subjects indeed

because they are worth learning and most people, especially young kids can only learn them at

school even if we may be seeing a proliferation of professional language academies and crash

courses around us. To develop full proficiency in any language(s) and to comprehend knowledge

of other subjects/disciplines, it is why we teach languages as subjects in schools. But we

certainly shouldn’t teach language in schools in similar ways as we teach other subjects. This

will surely help both the teachers and learners to freely learn the language in the most natural


Teaching language as school subject entails a much wider compass of theoretical angles which

emerge from such diverse disciplines such as psychology, linguistics and philosophy than simply

learning how to speak it. Of course, the study and research in the field of language itself has

taken many great strides forward in the recent times. This has in turn greatly affected the

pedagogical practice in the teaching of language as school subject. In the words of Michael

Fleming, “The study of language is such a broad subject that the theoretical perspectives are

considerable and varied: psychology, linguistics, philosophy and many other disciplines have

much to contribute about the nature of language and the way it functions in society. If literature

is included as a component of languages of education the range of theoretical influences becomes

even wider, embracing in addition literary and cultural theory.”

The idea that language is much more than communication, more specifically that the language is

inextricably intertwined to the development of thought, has profoundly influenced the language

teaching in recent times. The acknowledgement of the intricate nature of the relations that

language shares with thinking and consequently, learning means that more emphasis is placed on

the use of exploratory talk in the classroom in order to allow the expression and development of

concepts. It is through language that learners can bring to explicit awareness what formerly they

only had a sense of. Teaching language as a school subject or means of learning implies that the

learner needs to be seen as an active participant who uses language to explore, develop and

refine concepts not just to communicate them. On the contrary, when language is considered

only as a system of communication, quite often this relegates the learner to a mere passive role as

a receiver of knowledge. Moreover, it is an established fact that language also has a key role in

personal development, in exploring and defining responses and feelings. This leads to the view

that one main objective of teaching language as a school subject is the personal growth of the

learner. This comes close to the inculcation of the creative or expressive uses of language among

the learners. Teaching language as a school subject is also closely related to the advancement of

learning of all kinds besides creative or personal growth.

More recently, the concept that has really influenced the teaching of language as school subject

is that language in actuality develops by its active use in meaningful contexts rather than just by

narrow instruction in skills which takes place in the isolated contexts. Rapid strides in linguistics

have also affected the teaching of language. The idea that language is a strictly rule-governed

system is a fallacy lead to a prescriptive view of language which seeks to lay down the normative

rules of “correct” usage and by consequence, asserts that one type or form of language is

superior to another. The move to more descriptive approaches aimed not to evaluate different

uses of language but instead to describe them, to say how people actually do speak not how they

should speak. As an alternative, what is emphasised is the idea of “appropriate” rather than

“correct” uses of language.

There is no one single accurate way of describing general approaches to the teaching of language

as school subject. However, a broad description might be useful in identifying various patterns of

practice. Approaches to the teaching of language as school subject which have been highly

influenced by socio-linguistics recognised the importance of the active use of language and of

allowing pupils to formulate their own responses but have been criticised for reducing the

content of lessons to a form of social studies and neglecting the aesthetic dimensions of

language. Teaching language as a subject must include a comprehensive framework of language

education which enables the learners to come to terms with the wide utility aspects related to

language in terms of both communication and knowledge.

All of us know it fully well that the primary purpose of language is to communicate. Humans use

language to communicate and interact with one another and also with the rest of the creatures

and objects in the world. It is the language that helps to know the reality of the life and as such

has always been the bedrock of the human progress and evolution. Historically, it is out of these

deeply felt needs of effective communication that languages have evolved and still continue to

emerge. The approach of teaching language as communication is based on the idea that learning

language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning. When learners are

involved in real communication, their innate tendencies for language acquisition will be used,

and this will allow them to learn to use the language in a free and natural way. It is now one of

the more popular methods of language teaching and learning. The communicative approach to

language teaching emphasizes the ability to communicate the message in terms of its meaning,

instead of concentrating exclusively on grammatical perfection or phonetics. This method

considers using the language to be just as important as actually learning the language.

The skills of language and communication are inextricably intertwined because it is through

language that we are able to communicate. The competence that an individual has in language is

critical because it allows him/her to communicate effectively with others. If an individual lacks

competence in language skills, he/she encounters difficulties when interacting with others. This

drives home the point that language skills are an essential requirement for effective

communication. Communication skills refer to the ability that an individual has in interacting

with others effectively. This is the close connection between these two skills. A language is an

unavoidable requirement for all human beings as it allows us to interact and exchange our ideas

with others. Since times immemorial, humans have developed numerous languages which have

allowed them to communicate with one another. When we talk about mastery over language,

what we imply is that one has to master all the four skills—listening, speaking, reading and

writing, while learning the language. The basic skill in language education is the listening skill.

The learner is first and foremost exposed to certain listening activities so that he/she achieves a

gradual familiarization with the new language. It is only after this that the teacher moves on to

the rest of the skills—speaking, followed by reading and finally by writing. When the learner

becomes competent enough in all these skills, he can said to be communicating effectively.

In contrast to the four skills of language which are often considered as a more essential pre-

condition in learning the language, inculcating communication skills is an advantage especially

in real life situations and organizational settings. To put it in the simple terms, communication

skills refer to the ability that an individual has in communicating effectively with others.

Communication skills typically include a broad variety of skills ranging from listening to

speaking. Also, communication can either be vocal or else written. To have effective

communication powers in both writing and orally is considered vital to exchange information.

The mere proficiency in language of any individual does not guarantee his/her good

communication skills. Communication includes not only being proficient in the language but

also being able to listen to others and to also express oneself clearly that is being able to interact

effectively. It involves being accurate and clear in one’s communication with other. It is

generally found that any individual with excellent communication skills expresses

himself/herself confidently and uses the language to reach across to others. This drives home the

point that despite their presumable similarity, language skills and communication skills refer to

two different set of skills. Both have clear distinctions in their meanings and connotations.

Language represents words whether it is writing or speaking. On the other hand, communication

is all about message. This is the main difference between the two. Also, language is literary in

makeup in contrast to communication which is verbal or written in character. It is pretty

interesting to note that the adjectival forms of language and communication are the words

“linguistic” and “communicative” respectively, as in the expressions “linguistic ability” and

“communicative skills”.

1 C v). Multilingual Classrooms:

Multilingualism, as we know, is the use of more than one language, either by an individual
speaker or by a number of speakers. Due to the increasing globalization, socio-cultural
connections, migrations and improving education, we have come to a point where the number of
multilingual speakers is now outnumbering the monolingual speakers in the world. Because of
the ever increasing ease of access to information facilitated by the information technology,
individuals’ exposure to multiple languages is becoming increasingly frequent, thereby
promoting a need to acquire additional languages. People who speak several languages are also

called polyglots. Multilingual speakers acquire and maintain at least one language during
childhood, usually their First language or L1. The first language, sometimes also referred to as
the mother tongue, is acquired without formal education, in the informal socio-cultural settings.
Children acquiring two languages in this way are called simultaneous bilinguals. Even in the
case of simultaneous bilinguals, one language usually dominates the other. People who know
more than one language have been reported to be more adept at language learning compared to
monolinguals. Additionally, bilinguals often have important economic advantages over
monolingual individuals as bilingual people are able to carry out duties that monolinguals
cannot, such as interacting with customers who only speak a minority language.

A multilingual classroom is defined as a classroom where the learners speak a variety of

languages, usually their first languages. In a multilingual class, there can be much more use of
the target language, because it will be the only common language between the learners, who will
use it for their normal interactions both in and out of class. Multilingual classes can be compared
to monolingual ones, where all the learners speak the same first language. Like majority of the
other parts of the world and also given the enormous linguistic diversity in India, it is now said
that multilingual students and multilingual classrooms are the norm rather than the exception.
Much research on the subject reveals the cognitive and practical benefits of knowing more than
one language. Such knowledge is a tremendous resource for teaching and learning. Whatever
their subject specialism, every teacher should seek out opportunities to celebrate, promote and
exploit the linguistic knowledge and skills of all their students. As a language and literacy
teacher, you have a particular responsibility to do this. Research studies have revealed that
students learn best in the language they know best, and teachers also teach most effectively in the
language they are most familiar with. The longer teaching and learning take place in the first
language, the better the educational outcomes. As would be discussed in detail in the next
chapter, the language education framework is focused on multilingualism.

A Tess-India scholarly report on multilingualism suggests that in any multilingual classroom,

undertaking a language survey of the students is important. That can be kick started by talking to
the students about the languages they know, to clarify whether they can understand a few words,
speak the language fluently or write it. They could be asked to explain how they gained that
knowledge, be this from their parents or grandparents, from living somewhere, or from studying

it in school, for example. You can make use of the chart paper, make a large table by writing
your name, followed by your students’ names, down the left-hand side, and a list of languages
across the top. Invite your students to state which languages they know and add ticks to the chart
accordingly. When you have finished, put the survey chart up on the classroom wall. If any
students are absent on the day you do the survey, be sure to update the chart on their return.
Insert extra rows at the bottom in case any new students join the class during the year.
Depending on the age of your students, you could make the survey more detailed by noting
whether they can understand, speak, read or write the languages have mentioned.

In all this, the attitude to minority languages should not be discriminatory and hence, it is
imperative to positively emphasise the value that knowledge of different languages and cultures
brings to people’s lives in general and the classroom in particular. Talk about your own
knowledge of minority languages, even if it is limited, or your wish to learn them. The fact that
the distinction between languages and dialects is often fluid, or the possibility that students may
not know the names of the languages they speak, are other reasons why it is not always
straightforward to obtain precise information about such knowledge. Your chart should therefore
be viewed a starting point, with students helping to amend the information over time.
The Tess report further suggests that one more activity to be done in the multilingual classrooms
is to involve your students in creating bilingual or multilingual dictionaries. Depending on your
students’ needs, these dictionaries could focus on simple words and pictures, vocabulary relating
to everyday topics, such as school, home, the park, body parts, animals, or, subject-specific
terms pertaining to maths, science and environmental science, etc. If your students are studying
English, they could compile a multilingual dictionary that lists words in English, Hindi and their
home language. Keep a list of new words and set aside a time for your students to add these and
others to the dictionary on a regular basis.
Another technique that the Tess report suggests to be beneficial in a multilingual classroom is the
technique of Translanguaging or what is traditionally known as switching between various
languages. It has been called flexible multilingualism. Whether it involves combining elements
from different languages in the same utterance known as “code switching” or alternating
between languages in different parts of a task, it is a natural means of employing one’s linguistic
resources to their greatest effect. Translanguaging is something that we do all the time with our
friends, family and other members of the community without even thinking about it. In the

classroom, translanguaging may involve translating between languages, comparing and being
playful with different languages, mixing words and expressions from different languages in the
same spoken or written utterance, and also using the home language in one part of an activity and
the school language in another part.
To conclude, multilingualism of the learners in the classroom can amply advance teaching and
learning by creating a multilingual classroom environment. All this leads to an improvement in
the students’ cognitive, linguistic, and social interaction abilities.
Self Assessment:

 Define Language and its various properties? What role it plays in our lives?

 Elucidate what role human language plays in the construction of knowledge and one’s

social identity and power?

 What is the difference between Home Language and School Language?

 How is teaching of language as a subject different from teaching it as communication?

Suggested Readings:

David Crystal. Linguistics. London: Penguin Books, 1985.

R.L. Trask. Language: The Basics. London: Routledge, 1995.

F.L. Billows. The Techniques of Language Teaching. London: Logomans, 1961.

C. Burck. Multilingual living:Explorations of language and subjectivity. Basingstoke, England

and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

B. Norton. Identity and Language learning: Extending the conversation. Bristol: Multilingual

Matters, 2013.

Robin Lakoff. Language and Woman’s place: text and commentaries. New York: Oxford

University Press, 2004.

Dennis Baron. Guide to Home Language Repair, 1994.

W. Littlewood. Communicative Language Teaching: An Introduction. Cambridge: CUP, 1981.



Position of languages in India


a) Constitutional provisions and policies of

language in education(Articles 343- 351,


b) Kothari commission (1964-66) with

special reference to language education.

c) National curriculum frame work- 2005

with special reference to language



By going through this unit, you will be able to understand:

 The definition of language policy.

 Language policy in India.

 Constitutional provisions of language education in India.

 Kothari Commission and language education.

 National Curriculum Framework and its bearing on language education in India.

III A). Constitutional provisions and policies of language in education(Articles 343- 351,

350A) :

Language Policy: Language Policy in general terms can be defined as the formulation of any

decision or principle of action by an organization or a government to be undertaken with respect

to the usage (speaking and writing) of language or languages by a collective group of people.

Language policy is mostly formulated in the form of a written clause in the Constitution of a

country or a language law, or an official document or on administrative regulation. Language

policies are aimed to promote one or more languages besides elaborating on the specific usage of

language in different realms, like education, administration, media, politics etc. An effective

language policy is always needed if one is to encompass all the linguistic behaviours,

assumptions, cultural forms, folk believes, attitude towards a language, etal within a society.

There are many factors which have a bearing on the framing of language policy i.e. socio-

linguistic settings, attitude of the language speakers, the strength of the political set up, etc.

Nearly 130 countries in the world have a well defined provision or policy about language. An

effective language policy is always needed for the efficient functioning of a country, more

specifically, a multilingual country like India.

It has been found that the need for a language policy arises at particular levels— the official

levels of administration, law, etc., at a regional level, wider communication in the society,

international communication, and education. For all these objectives, we need an effective

language policy which has to be in tune with the language planning. The process of language

planning involves diverse participants—experts and scholars from the academia, bureaucrats,

technocrats politicians, and civil society members. The objectives of language planning vary

from one country to other or from one organization to other. Sometimes it is enacted for the sole

purpose of assimilating various cultures, ethnicities or languages through top-down

dissemination of one single dominant language. This kind of a language planning is

assimilationist in nature. Some are also enacted for maintaining linguistic pluralism i.e.

multilingualism is recognized, supported and propagated. At times, the objectives of language

planning could be standardization, language revitalization, language reform, language

maintenance, etc. from this, we can derive that language planning can be either seen as a

management of language or manipulation of language as it is always managed by power and


Language Policy in India: The early signs of language planning and policy in India are often

traced back to the British colonial rule. However, much of the past history tells us that it was

always there in different epochs under different rulers whose language policy was based on their

choice for the different reasons of governance or culture. But the first potent signs of language

policy in India could be only seen through Macaulay’s famous minutes in 1835 as has been

previously discussed which went a long way in the introduction of English both as a language of

communication and medium of instruction in the country.

In 1835, the British government, after accepting the suggestions and proposals of Macaulay,

decided to grant funds for the purpose of introduction of English language education in India.

Afterwards, the British government continuously promoted the development of English language

in India, but not always at the cost of native languages.

After India’s Independence in 1947, the country needed a language which could act as a

connecting link among the numerous culturally and linguistically diverse regions of India. The

leaders of Independent India desired a language where the government passing a law in a

language should be understood to all, anyone can easily communicate to others via a common

language. One of the designs behind this idea was the eradication of English language from the

country. The imposition of a common language could be seen as an effort to remove the legacies

of colonial rule, so that India could find its own new national identity. As early as in 1917,

Mahatma Gandhi had laid down the following parameters for a language to become the national

language of the country:

1. It should be easy to learn for Government officials.

2. It should be capable of serving all the domains-- religion, politics, education etc.

3. It should be the majority language.

4. It should be easy enough to learn for everyone.

5. No temporary or passing interest should be considered while choosing this language.

Constitutional Provisions: Alongwith Maulana Azad and many other prominent leaders,

Gandhi strongly advocated for the removal of English language. These leaders, while

acknowledging its contribution, opposed the continuation of English as a prime language of

education and communication. Gandhi was of the opinion: “The existing system of education is

defective, apart from its association with an utterly unjust government in three most important

matters: i) It is based upon foreign culture to the almost entire exclusion of indigenous culture; ii)

It ignores the culture of heart and the hand and confines itself simply to the head, and iii) real

education is impossible through a foreign medium.” However, in order to accommodate the

aspirations of non-Hindi speakers, especially South Indians, and also given the global importance

of English language, the Indian leaders decided to retain the English language in India.

Consequently, on Sept. 14, 1949, the Constituent Assembly passed the Constitutional provision

regarding the Official Languages through which Hindi was made an official language instead of

“national” language. The Constitution nowhere mentions or describes the term “national.” The

article 343 of the Indian Constitution allowed the retention of English as the official language for

a period of 15 years. In 1948, the Radhakrishnan Commission, also known as the University

Education Commission, was established as free India’s first education commission. It

recommended that English should continue to be studied in high schools and universities. The

Official Languages Commission established in 1956 could not decide on abolishing the status of

English as a medium of instruction in India. In 1958, the Central Institute of English, later known

as CIEFL, and now a University known as EFLU, was set up in Hyderabad with an objective to

train teachers of English to produce teaching material and to improve the standards of English

teaching in India. In 1961, to account for the vast cultural and linguistic diversity of India,

Jawaharlal Nehru pointed out the need for a link language or what is now known as a lingua

franca. He opined, “The tendency of the regional language to become the medium for university

education, though desirable in many ways, may well lead to the isolation of such universities

from the rest of India, unless there is a link in the shape of an ‘All-India’ language.” The Central

Advisory Board on Education (CABE) devised the three-language formula in its 23rd meeting

held in 1956, later on modified by the Chief Ministers Conference of 1961, with a view to

remove inequalities among the languages of India. After a decade of differences on the issue of

language in India, it emerged as a political consensus on languages in school education was a

strategy to accommodate at least three languages within the ten years of schooling. After the

death of Independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, the central

government again decided to impose Hindi as the sole official language of India. However, this

attempt of dropping English as the official language led to a very strong protest from the

Southern states of India which even led to riots in these states. In view of the strong opposition to

Hindi in the southern states, after Hindi in ‘Deonagari’ script was declared as the official

language of the Union, English also was given the status of the ‘subsidiary’ official language of

India in the Official Language Act 1965 through an amendment. It was also decided that either

Hindi or English could be used for proceedings of the parliament. English, the only language

used for official purposes in the British Raj, thus, became the subsidiary official language by

1965. In 1966, the Kothari Commission, amending the Three Language Formula, recommended

that English should continue as the medium of instruction but other languages must also be

taught in the schools. It is the Section–3 of the Official Languages Act, 1963 passed by the

Parliament which provides for the continued use of English along with Hindi even after 1965.

The Chapter XVII (Article 343 to 351) of the Constitution gives detailed information about the

official languages of the Union and the State. The Official Language Policy of the Union has

been thoroughly described under Article 120 (Part 5), Article 210 (Part 6), Articles 343, 344 and

from Article 348 to 357 of the Constitution. Like article 343 discusses the languages used for the

official purposes of the Union, article 345 deals with the languages that are to be used for the

official purpose of each State and Union Territory, article 346 gives an account for the language

that are to be used for communication between the Union and State inter se.

The constitutional provisions of the official language of India may be divided into nine parts:

1. Official language of the Union.

2. Official languages of the State.

3. Language of inter-communication.

4. Language of the Supreme Court.

5. Formation of a language commission.

6. Language to be used in Union Parliament and State legislatures.

7. Safeguards for Linguistic Minorities.

8. Miscellaneous provisions for the promotion, development and use

of Hindi language.

9. Specification of some important languages as the national languages.

There are some states in India which recognizes only one language as the official language. Each

state has some clause to ensure the protection of its linguistic minorities. It is noteworthy that

Hindi is not the pan-India language. Out of 28 states, 18 States do not have Hindi as their official

language. They are as follows:- Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jammu &

Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa,

Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.

In 1975, the Government of India, in order to promote the use of Hindi for the official purposes

of the Union, set up the Department of Official Language as an independent Department of the

Ministry of Home Affairs. The Department of Official Language prepares an Annual Programme

in which targets are fixed for different items of work for the progress of Hindi. Also Committees

have been set up at different levels to promote use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union.

They include, Committee of Parliament on Official Language, Kendriya Hindi Samiti, Hindi

Salahkar Samitis, Central Official Language Implementation Committee and Town Official

Language Implementation Committees. The Government is spending lots of money for the

promotion of Hindi especially in the aftermath of 2014 since the incumbent government is in


In the years (2000-01,2001-02 and 2002-03) in all a sum of Rs. 1050-00 lakhs under the Plan

Programmes and Rs. 3681.00 lakhs under the Non-Plan Programmes respectively, have been

allotted to Department of Official Language for the development of Official Language Hindi.

While giving prominence to the development of Hindi, but also keeping in view the richness of

India’s linguistic diversity, the Government of India has given recognition to 22 scheduled

languages in the Constitution in what is known as the Eighth Schedule. Starting from 14, it has

reached 22 and still more languages are growing and finding place in the Eighth Schedule. The

Eighth Schedule was originally Schedule VII-A in the draft Constitution. At the time of

Independence, majority of the leaders were contemplating on the idea of a “national language.”

But it was more than obvious that a nation with such a vast linguistic diversity could not be

governed only by implementing one language. So in order to maintain the multilingual ethos of

India the Constitution gave place to fourteen languages when the Constitution was adopted by

the Constituent Assembly on 26th Nov, 1949. This Schedule has emerged as the most important

language policy statement. In 1963, Pandit Nehru in the Indian Parliament stated that, “all the

thirteen or fourteen” languages in the eighth Schedule are “national languages.” The original

purpose of the Eighth Schedule was stated in the Article 351 and 344. Article 351 states: “It shall

be the duty of the union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may

serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to

secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and

expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth

Schedule and secondarily on other languages.” The second Article 344-(1) states

“Commission and Committee of Parliament on Official language-The President shall, at the

expiration of five years from the commencement of this Constitution and thereafter at the

expiration of ten years from such commencement, by order constitute a Commission which shall

consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in

the Eighth Schedule as the President may appoint, and the order shall define the procedure to be

followed by the Commission”.

The Part XIV-A of the Draft Constitution in the Constituent Assembly on 12th Sep, 1949 has

Schedule VII-A consisting of thirteen languages. They are Assamese, Bengali, Canarese,

Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.” The

choice of these languages was more based on political reasons rather than on any other

consideration. In 1950, the number became fourteen by adding some and replacing others. For

instance, the name of the language “Canarese” was substituted by the name “Kannada” through

an amendment moved by S. V. Krishnamoorthy. So after that the fourteen languages were

Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi,

Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Later on, Sindhi was added in 1967 through the 21st

amendment. Then, Nepali, Manipuri, Konkani in 1992 through 71st amendment and finally in

2003, Maithili, Dogri, Santali, Bodo found place in the Eighth Schedule through the 92nd

amendment. Now the number has risen to twenty-two.

Some of the parameters for the inclusion of languages in the Eighth Schedule are:

1. Literary traditions and scripts of their own.

2. Spoken by the largest number of people in large contiguous geographical zones as

dominant languages of certain regions.

3. Political concessions as in case of Sindhi and Nepali.

4. Being recognized as official languages in newly formed states as Konkani in Goa and

Manipuri in Manipur.

5. Being a classical language of culture and heritage and also a resource language in

modernizing the major literary languages. Example is Sanskrit.

6. Being spoken by a large population, geographically distributed and dispersed, but with

its own script and literature. Example is Urdu.

Given India’s enormous linguistic diversity, the architects of the constitution, apart from the

Eighth Scheduled, have focused on specifying which language to be used for official purposes,

which for regional, educational and administrative. As whole, the language policy of India is

pluralistic in approach. For upholding multilingualism, the entire part xvii of the constitution is

devoted to language. Some of the articles describing the use of language in different domains


Article 29: It enunciates the fundamental rights of any section of citizens residing anywhere in

India to conserve its distinct language, script or culture.

Article 30: It seeks to protect the rights of all minorities based on religion or language-to

establish and administer educational institution of their choice.

Article 120: It lays down the official language of Parliament. It says business in Parliament may

be transacted in English or in Hindi. However, Hon‟ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha may permit

any member to address the house in his/her mother tongue under special circumstances.

Article 210: It lays down the corresponding language provision for state legislature.

Article 343: It stipulates Hindi in Devanagri script as the official language of the union.

Article 344: It enables the President of India to constitute an official language commission after

five years and then to review the progress made by Hindi.

Article 345: It empowers the “legislature of a state to adopt one or more languages in use in that

State as the official language or languages for the State.”

Article 346: It provides that the official language of the union (Hindi or English) shall be the

official language for communication between the Union and a State and between the States inter


Article 348: It stipulates that the language of the Supreme Court and High Court shall be English

until the Parliament by law otherwise provides. State may, in addition, use their official

language(s) for this purpose but the English text will be deemed authoritative.

Article 349: It states that no change of article 348 can be contemplated for 15 years and after that

period the President of India must be satisfied of the need for a change.

Article 350A: It is inserted by the 7th Amendment provides for local authorities in every state

endeavoring to extent adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage

of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups and for the President issuing

necessary direction to any state.

Article 394A (part 22): It is inserted by the 56th Amendment act provided for an authoritative

text of the constitution in the Hindi. This shows that the constitution has laid mechanisms for the

upholding of India’s multilingualism.

At the Union level, various commissions and boards have been formed to look after the language

development programs. The Government of India has set up the following prominent institutions

and agencies under the Union Government of India: Parliamentary Committee, The Commission

for Scientific and Technical Terminology, Central Institute of Indian Languages, National

Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language, Central Institute of Hindi or Kendriya Hindi

Sansthan, Central Hindi Directorate, National Council for the Promotion of Sindhi Language,

Central Translation Bureau, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sahitya

Akademi, etal.

To conclude, the Constitution of India has enough provisions to save India’s multilingualism. It

has kept enough provisions for the proper promotion and development of the entire languages

whether it is a major language or a minor language. This makes the language policy of India

more or less pluralistic in nature. The language policy in India is framed keeping in due

consideration India’s cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity. By implication, the educational

institutions in India are free to teach languages, based on the requirements of learners, and not

necessarily any one imposed language. Since English has attained a high global status and is also

the lingua franca (link language) in our country, it gets more traction among the learners. In any

case, language education with its focus on India’s multilingualism is well safeguarded by the

constitution of the country.

III B). Kothari Commission (1964-66) with special reference to language education:

In 1956, the Government of India’s The Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) devised

the three-language formula in order to eradicate the inequalities among the various languages in

India. It was later on modified by the Chief Ministers Conference of 1961. After so much of

differences on the issue of language in India, it emerged as a sort of consensus on languages as it

recommended teaching of at least three languages within the first ten years of schooling.

However, the burden of three languages for young learners to learn was not proving useful and a

need was felt that there has to be a comprehensive policy on language education in India. So in

order to come up with a better policy on language education and also on the education as a whole

in India, the Government of India set up a commission in 1964 Indian Education Commission

(1964-1966), popularly known as Kothari Commission after the name of its chairman. It was an

adhoc commission whose task was to scrutinize all aspects of the educational sector in India to

progress towards a more standardized pattern of education in and to advise guidelines and

policies for the development of education in India with a special focus on language education.

The commission was formed on 14 July 1964 under the chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari,

the then chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The terms of reference of the

commission was to formulate the general principles and guidelines for the development of

education from primary level to the highest and advise the government on a standardized

national pattern of education in India. The tenure of the commission was from 1964 to 1966 and

it submitted its report to the Government of India on June 29, 1966. It was the sixth commission

in Independent India and the first commission with comprehensive terms of reference on

education. It had a member secretary, an associate secretary and fifteen members. Apart from the

core group, the commission had a panel of overseas consultants (prominent academicians and

experts) numbering twenty and nineteen task forces, their sub groups and special panels of


The main front line activities were handled by nineteen task forces or working groups, each

handling a specific area of activity. During its tenure of 21 months, the commission interviewed

around 9000 individuals covering educators, scholars and scientists and examined nearly 2400

memorandums. The commission finally submitted its 287-page report on 29 June 1966 to M C

Chagla, the then Minister of Education of India. Some of the main recommendations of the

commission were:

 The standardization of educational system on 10+2+3 pattern across the country.

 It advised that the pre-primary education which had different names such as

Kindergarten, Montessori should be renamed as pre-primary and the primary education

(renamed as lower primary) to be up to the 4th standard.

 It further classified the schooling as upper primary or higher primary and high school (up

to standard X).

 The under graduate education was identified as XI and XII standards under the name,

higher secondary or pre university.

 The graduate studies were recommended to be standardized as a three-year course. The

educational system up to the master’s degree was categorized as first (primary

education), second (secondary education up to XII) and third levels of education (higher


 A common public education system should be introduced and then it should be

vocationalized in general and special streams by introducing work experience as a part of


 It further stressed on the need to make work experience and social/national service as an

integral part of education.

 Specializations of subjects were advised to be started from higher secondary levels.

 The days of instruction were recommended to be increased to 234 for schools and 216 for

colleges and the working hours to be fixed at not less than 1000 hours per academic year,

preferably higher at 1100 or 1200 hours. It also advised for reduction of national


 Linking of colleges to a number of schools in the neighborhood, utilization of school

facilities 8 hours a day all through the year, establishment of book banks, identification of

talents and provision of scholarships, setting up of day study and residential facilities and

opportunities for students to earn while studying were some of the other

recommendations of the commission.

 It also emphasized on free education up to and including lower secondary level of


 Stress was laid on women education and for the purpose it advised setting up of state and

central level committees for overseeing women education.

 It suggested establishing schools and hostels for women and urged to identify ways to

find job opportunities for women in the educational sector.

 It suggested focus on equalization of opportunities to all irrespective of caste, religion

and gender and to achieve social and national integration, the schools were advised to

provide education to backward classes on a priority basis and the minimum level of

enrollment at a secondary school were advised to be not less than 360 every year.

 Two sets of curricula were prescribed, one at state level and one at the national level and

the schools were recommended to experiment with the curriculum.

 It also proposed that three or four text books to be prescribed for each subject and moral

and religious education be made a part of the curriculum.

 The establishment of guidance and counselling centres and a new approach in the

evaluation of student performances.

 It put forward the suggestion that state and national boards of examination be set up and

state level evaluation machinery be put in place.

 The commission suggested the neighbourhood school system without social or religious

segregation and a school complex system integrating primary and secondary levels of


 The commission recommended the establishment of Indian Education Service, along the

lines of Indian Administrative Service in professional management to education sector.

 It proposed standardization and revision of the pay scales of the teaching, non teaching

and administrative staff and prescribed minimum pay levels based on their locations.

 It also advised standardization of pay scales working under different managements such

as government, private and local bodies.

 Another proposal was for the establishment of machinery for continuous on job training

of the teaching staff and for efforts to raise the status of the teachers to attract talents into

the profession.

 It urged laws to be passed to legalize the educational standards and the educational

expenditure to be raised from the then level of 2.9 percent of the GDP to 6 percent, to be

achieved by the fiscal year, 1985-86.

 A significant suggestion was the issuance of a National Policy on Education by the

Government of India which should serve as a guideline for the state and local bodies in

the design and implementation of their educational plans.

 Games and sports should be developed on a large scale with the object of improving the

physical fitness and sportsmanship of the average student as well as of those who excel in

this department.

The curriculum prescribed by the commission was:

For Lower primary level (class 1 to class 4):

 One language (regional)

 Mathematical studies

 Environmental studies

 Creative studies

 Health studies

 Work experience

For Higher primary level (class 5 to class 8):

Two languages (one regional and one national) and preferably a third language

 Mathematical studies

 Science studies

 Social studies

 Art

 Physical education

 Work experience

 Moral studies

For Lower secondary level (class IX and class X) :

 Three languages

 Mathematical studies

 Science studies

 Social studies

 Art

 Physical education

 Work experience

 Moral studies

For Higher secondary level (XI and XII):

 Two languages (one modern Indian language and one classical or foreign


 Any three subjects from (a) one additional language, (b) History (c) Economics

(d) Logic (e) geography (f) psychology (g) sociology (h) art (i) physics (j)

chemistry (k) mathematics (l) biology (m) geology (n) home science.

 Art

 Physical education

 Work experience

 Moral studies

Kothari Commission’s Reference to Language Education:

The Commission’s recommendations laid significant focus on the development of languages. It

came up with a detailed account of language education to be implemented in India:

 Regional Languages: The vigorous development of Indian languages and literature is

highly indispensable for educational and cultural development. Unless this is done, the

creative energies of the people will not be released, standards of education will not

improve, knowledge will not spread to the people, and the gulf between the intelligentsia

and the masses will remain, if not widen further. The regional languages are already in

use as media of education at the primary and secondary stages. Urgent steps should now

be taken to adopt them as media of education at the university stage.

 Three-Language Formula: At the secondary stage, the State Governments should adopt,

and vigorously implement, the three-language formula which includes the study of a

modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and

English in the Hindi-speaking States, and of Hindi along with the regional language and

English in the non-Hindi speaking States. Suitable courses in Hindi and/or English

should also be available in universities and colleges with a view to improving the

proficiency of students in these languages up to the prescribed university standards.

 Hindi: Every effort should be made to promote the development of Hindi. In developing

Hindi as the link language, due care should be taken to ensure that it will serve, as

provided for in Article 351 of the Constitution, as a medium of expression for all the

elements of the composite culture of India. The establishment in non-Hindi States, of

colleges and other institutions of higher education which use Hindi as the medium of

education should be encouraged.

 Sanskrit: Considering the special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development

of Indian languages and its unique contribution to the cultural unity of the country,

facilities for its teaching at the school and university stages should be offered on a more

liberal scale. Development of new methods of teaching the language should be

encouraged, and the possibility explored of including the study of Sanskrit in those

courses (such as modern Indian languages, ancient Indian history, Indology and Indian

philosophy) at the first and second degree stages, where such knowledge is useful.

 International Languages: Special emphasis needs to be laid on the study of English and

other international languages. World knowledge is growing at a tremendous pace,

especially in science and technology. India must not only keep up this growth but should

also make her own significant contribution to it. For this purpose, study of English

deserves to be specially strengthened.


Acting on the commission’s recommendations of the commission, in 1968, the fourth Lok Sabha,

under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, passed the bill for National Education Policy. The policy

covered many recommendations of the Kothari Commission such as free and compulsory

education, Status and pay scale revision of teachers, equalization of educational opportunity and

science education. Another recommendation of the commission for the alignment of the

educational system on 10+2+3 pattern has been achieved by the government on a national level.

The education has been modeled as per commission's recommendation to stratify the sector with

state and national bodies and a central board, Board of Higher Secondary Education was set up

in 1986. The recommendations of the commission have also influenced the 1986 revision of the

National Policy on Education by the Rajiv Gandhi government. The guidelines laid out by the

commission were also revisited by the National Knowledge Commission chaired by Sam Pitroda

in 2005. The commission’s recommendations also went a long way in standardizing the language

education in India and making it more flexible in the way as it exists today. It found a balance

between the teaching and learning of native languages vis-a-vis English in schools. It made sure

that English continued to get promotion in the school education without comprising the learners’

opportunity to learn the native languages.

III C).National curriculum frame work- 2005 with special reference to language education:

The National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005) is the fourth National Curriculum Framework

published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in India to

revise the national curriculum framework. Before it, the national curriculum frameworks were

published in 1975, 1988 and 2000, respectively. The Framework formulates the guidelines for

framing syllabi, textbooks and teaching practices within the school education programmes in

India. The NCF 2005 was more or less a consequence of the earlier government reports on

education like Learning without Burden (submitted by Prof Yash Pal Committee) and National

Policy of Education (1986-1992) and Focus Group Discussion. Keeping in consideration the

observations of these reports, the executive committee of NCERT decided at its meeting of July

14, 2004, to revise the National Curriculum Framework. The process of development of NCF

was initiated in November, 2004 by setting up various structures like National Steering

Committee Chaired by Prof. Yash Pal and twenty-one National Focus Groups on themes of

curricular areas, systemic reforms and national concerns. Wide ranging deliberations and inputs

from multiple sources involving different levels of stakeholders helped in shaping the draft of

NCF. The draft NCF was translated into 22 languages listed in the VIII Schedule of the

Constitution. The translated versions were widely disseminated and consultations with

stakeholders at district and local level helped in developing the final draft. The NCF was

approved by Central Advisory Board on Education in September, 2005.The NCF 2005 was

formulated while considering the articulated goals of education in the past such as to shift

learning from the traditional rote method, to connect knowledge to life outside the school, to

integrate examination into classroom learning and make it more flexible, to enrich the curriculum

so that it goes beyond textbooks, and to nurture an over-riding identity informed by caring

concerns within the democratic polity of the country.

The main objectives on which the NCF 2005 laid ample emphasis were:

 Learning without burden to make learning a joyful experience and move away from

textbooks to be a basis for examination and to remove stress from children. It

recommended major changes in the design of syllabus.

 To develop a sense of self-reliance and dignity of the individual to be the basis of social

relationship and would develop a sense of nonviolence and oneness across the society.

 To develop a child centered approach and to promote universal enrollment and retention

up to the age of fourteen.

 To inculcate the feeling of oneness, democracy and unity in the students the curriculum is

enabled to strengthen our national identity and to enable the new generation reevaluate.

 To embody equality, quality and quantity as the exclusive triangle for Indian education.

 With respect to social context, NCF 2005 has ensured that irrespective of caste, creed,

religion and sex all are provided with a standard curriculum.

In broad terms, the National Curriculum Framework of 2005 states that learning should be a

naturally enjoyable act where children should feel that they are valued and their voices are heard.

The curriculum structure and school should be designed to make school a satisfactory place for

students to feel secure and involved. The curriculum should focus on the comprehensive

development of the students to enhance physical and mental development in individuals and as

well as with the peer interactions. In order to bring about the overall development of the students,

adequate nutrition, physical exercise and other psycho-social needs are addressed. Hence,

participation in yoga and sports is required. Learning should be made enjoyable and should relate

to real life experiences. The curriculum should prepare the students and provide support for

social and emotional support that will inculcate positive behaviour and provide skills essential to

cope with situations that they encounter in their lives, peers pressure and gender stereotype.

Inclusive education is to be given priority and flexibility to follow a curriculum to suit the needs

of every student irrespective of students having disabilities. Constructive learning has to be part

of the curriculum. Situations and opportunities have to be created for students to provide students

with challenges, encourage creativity and active participation for students. Students have to be

encouraged to interact with peers, teachers and older people which would open up many more

rich learning opportunities. The foundation should be laid strong and firm; primary, upper

primary and middle school should provide the space for children to explore and develop rational

thinking that they would imbibe in them and have sufficient knowledge of concepts, language,

knowledge, investigation and validation procedures.

Broad recommendations of NCF 2005 regarding curricular areas, school stages and


 Recommends significant changes in Maths, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences.

 Overall view to reduce stress, make education more relevant, meaningful.

a). Languages

 To implement 3-language formula.

 Emphasis on mother tongue as medium of instruction.

 Curriculum should contain multi-lingual proficiency only if mother tongue is considered

as second language.

 Focus on all skills.

b). Mathematics

 Teaching of Mathematics to focus on child’s resources to think and reason, to visualize

abstractions and to solve problems.

c). Sciences

 Teaching of science to focus on methods and processes that will nurture thinking process,

curiosity and creativity.

d). Social Sciences

 Social sciences to be considered from disciplinary perspective with rooms for.

 Integrated approach in the treatment of significant themes.

 Enabling pedagogic practices for promoting thinking process, decision making and

critical reflection.

Four other areas of focus:

 Art Education: covers music, dance, visual arts and theatre which work on interactive

approaches, and not instruction to develop aesthetic awareness which will enable children

to express themselves in different forms.

 Health and Physical Education: Health depends upon nutrition and planned physical


 Education for Peace: As a precondition to snub growing violence and intolerance.

 Work and Education: As it can create a social temper and agencies offering work

opportunities outside the school should be formally recognized.

School and Classroom environment:

 Critical pre-requisites for improved performance – minimum infrastructure and material

facilities and support for planning a flexible daily schedule.

 Focus on nurturing an enabling environment.

 Revisits tradition notions of discipline.

 Discuss needs for providing space to parents and community.

 Discuss other learning sites and resources like Texts and Books, Libraries and

laboratories and media and ICT.

 Addresses the need for plurality of material and Teacher autonomy/professional

independence to use such material.

Systemic Reforms:

 Covers needs for academic planning for monitoring quality.

 Teacher education should focus on developing professional identity of the teacher.

 Examination reforms to reduce psychological stress particularly on children in class X

and XII.

Examination reforms highlight:

 Shift from content based testing to problem solving and competency based assessment.

 Examinations of shorter duration.

 Flexible time limit.

 Change in typology of questions.

 No public examination till class VIII.

 Class X board exam to be made optional (in long term).

Teacher Education Reforms emphasize on preparation of teacher to:

 View learning as a search for meaning out of personal experience, and knowledge

generation at a continuously evolving process of reflective learning.

 View knowledge not as an external reality embedded in textbooks, but as constructed in

the shared context of teaching-learning and personal experience.

Guidelines for Syllabus Development

For the development of syllabus and textbooks, following considerations were to be followed:

 Appropriateness of topics and themes for relevant stages of children’s development.

 Continuity from one level to the next.

 Pervasive resonance of all the values enshrined in the constitution of India the

organization of knowledge in all subjects.

 Inter-disciplinary and thematic linkages between topics listed for different school

subjects, which falls under different discrete disciplinary areas.

 Linkage between school knowledge and concern in all subjects and at all levels.

 Sensitivity to gender, caste, class, peace, health and need of children with disability.

 Integration of work related attitudes and values in every subject and all levels.

 Need to nurture aesthetic sensibility and values.

 Linkage between school and college syllabi, avoid overlapping.

 Using potential of media and new information technology in all subjects.

 Encouraging flexibility and creativity in all areas of knowledge and its construction by


Development of Support Material:

 Audio/video programmes on NCF-2005 and textbooks.

 Source-book on learning assessment.

 Exemplar problems in Science and Mathematics.

 Science and Mathematics kits.

 Teachers’ handbooks and manuals.

 Teacher Training Packages.

 Developed syllabi and textbooks in new areas such as Heritage Craft, Media Studies, Art

Education, Health and Physical Education, etc.

 Taken various initiatives in the area of ECCE (Early Childhood Care Education), Gender,

Inclusive Education, Peace, Vocational Education, Guidance and Counseling, ICT, etc.

Reference of NCF 2005 to Language Education:

It is generally agreed that NCF 2005 provides for a fresh impetus to language education in India.

Revising the broad objectives of language education in India, the NCF 2005 calls for a renewed

attempt for implementing the three language formula. It adds that children’s mother tongues,

including tribal languages should be considered as the best medium of instruction. It further lays

emphasis on the proficiency in multiple languages including English should be encouraged

among children. Advocating an interdisciplinary approach, the NCF 2005 mingles culture and

language. The emphasis on the three-language formula by NCF 2005 seems to be an attempt to

address the challenges and opportunities of the linguistic situation in India. The primary aim of

the formula is to promote multilingualism and national harmony. The NCF 2005 proposes the

following guidelines with respect to language education in India:

 Language teaching needs to be multilingual not only in terms of the number of languages

offered to children but also in terms of evolving strategies that would use the multilingual

classroom as a resource.

 Home language(s) of children should be the medium of learning in schools.

 If a school does not have provisions for teaching in the child’s home language(s) at the

higher levels, primary school education must still be covered through the home

language(s). It is imperative that we honour the child’s home language(s). According to

Article 350A of our Constitution, “It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every

local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the

mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic

minority groups.”

 Children will receive multilingual education from the outset. The three-language formula

needs to be implemented in its spirit, promoting multilingual communicative abilities for

a multilingual country.

 In the non-Hindi-speaking states, children learn Hindi. In the case of Hindi speaking

states, children learn a language not spoken in their area. Sanskrit may also be studied as

a Modern Indian Language (MIL) in addition to these languages.

 At later stages, study of classical and foreign languages may be introduced.

The detailed document of the National Curriculum Framework 2005 regarding the language

education in India further reads:

Home Language/ First Language/ Regional Language / Mother Tongue:

It is clear that through their innate language faculty and interaction with the family and other

people around them, children come to school with full-blown communicative competence in

their language, or, in many cases, languages. They enter the school not only with thousands of

words but also with a full control of the rules that govern the complex and rich structure of

language at the level of sounds, words, sentences and discourse. A child knows not only how to

understand and speak correctly but also appropriately in her language(s). She can modulate her

behaviour in terms of person, place and topic. She obviously has the cognitive abilities to

abstract extremely complex systems of language-from the flux of sounds. Honing these skills by

progressively fostering advanced-level communicative and cognitive abilities in the classroom is

the goal of first-language(s) education. From Class III onwards, oracy and literacy will be tools

for learning and for developing higher-order communicative skills and critical thinking. At the

primary stage, child's languages must be accepted as they are, with no attempt to correct them.

By Class IV, if rich and interesting exposure is made available, the child will herself acquire the

standard variety and the rules of correct orthography, but care must be taken to honour and

respect the child's home language(s)/mother tongue(s).

It should be accepted that errors are a necessary part of the process of learning, and that children

will correct themselves only when they are ready to do so. Instead of focusing attention on errors

and “hard spots”, it would be much better to spend time providing children comprehensible,

interesting and challenging inputs. It is indeed hard to exaggerate the importance of teaching

home languages at school. Though children come equipped with basic interpersonal

communicative skills, they need to acquire at school cognitively advanced levels of language

proficiency. Basic language skills are adequate for meeting situations that are contextually rich

and cognitively undemanding such as peer-group interaction; advanced-level skills are required

in situations that are contextually poor and cognitively demanding such as writing an essay on an

abstract issue.

It is also now well established that higher-level proficiency skills easily transfer from one

language to another. It is thus imperative that we do everything we can to strengthen the

sustained learning of Indian languages at school.

Language education is not confined to the language classroom. Literature can also be a spur to

children’s own creativity. After hearing a story, poem or song, children can be encouraged to

write something of their own. They can also be encouraged to integrate various forms of creative

expression. A science, social science or mathematics class is ipso facto (by itself) a language

class. Learning the subject means learning the terminology, understanding the concepts, and

being able to discuss and write about them critically. For some topics, students should be

encouraged to consult books or talk to people in different languages, or gather material in

English from the Internet. Such a policy of languages across the curriculum will foster a genuine

multilingualism in the school. At the same time, the language class offers some unique

opportunities. Stories, poems, songs and drama link children to their cultural heritage, and also

give them an opportunity to understand their own experiences and to develop sensitivity to

others. We may also point out that children may effortlessly abstract more grammar from such

activities than through explicit and often boring grammar lessons. While many of the differently

abled learners may pick up basic language skills through normal social interactions, they could

additionally be provided with especially designed materials that would assist and enhance their

growth and development. Studying sign language and Braille could be included as options for

learners without disabilities.

Second Language – English:

English in India is a global language in a multilingual country. A variety and range of English-

teaching situations prevail here owing to the twin factors of teacher proficiency in English and

pupils’ exposure to English outside school. The level of introduction of English is now a matter

of political response to people’s aspirations rather than an academic or feasibility issue, and

people’s choices about the level of its introduction in the curriculum will have to be respected,

with the provision that we do not extend downwards the very system that has failed to deliver.

The goals for a second-language curriculum are twofold: attainment of a basic proficiency, such

as is acquired in natural language learning, and the development of language into an instrument

for abstract thought and knowledge acquisition through (for example) literacy. This argues for an

across-the-curriculum approach that breaks down the barriers between English and other

subjects, and English and other Indian languages. At the initial stages, English may be one of the

languages for learning activities that create the child's awareness of the world. At later stages, all

learning happens through language. Higher-order linguistic skills generalise across languages;

reading, (for example) is a transferable skill. Improving it in one language improves it in others,

while reading failure in one’s own languages adversely affects second-language reading.

English does not stand alone. The aim of English teaching is the creation of multilingualism that

can enrich all our languages; this has been an abiding national vision. English needs to find its

place along with other Indian languages in different states, where children’s other languages

strengthen English teaching and learning; and in “English-medium” schools, where other Indian

languages need to be valorised to reduce the perceived hegemony of English. The relative

success of “English medium” schools shows that language is learnt when it is not being taught as

language, through exposure in meaningful context. Thus English must be seen in relation to other

subjects; a language across the curriculum is of particular relevance to primary education, and

later all teaching is in a sense language teaching. This perspective will bridge the gap between

“English as subject” and “English as medium”. We should in this way move towards a common

school system that does not make a distinction between “teaching a language” and “using a

language as a medium of instruction”. Input-rich communicational environments are a

prerequisite for language learning, whether first or second. Inputs include textbooks, learner-

chosen texts, and class libraries, allowing for a variety of genres: print (for example, Big Books

for young learners); parallel books and materials in more than one language; media support

(learner magazines/newspaper columns, radio/audio cassettes); and “authentic” materials. The

language environment of disadvantaged learners needs to be enriched by developing schools into

community learning centres. A variety of successful innovations exists whose generalisability

needs exploration and encouragement. Approaches and methods need not be exclusive but may

be mutually supportive within a broad cognitive philosophy (incorporating Vygotskian,

Chomskyan, and Piagetian principles). Higher-order skills (including literary appreciation and

role of language in gendering) can be developed once fundamental competencies are ensured.

Teacher education needs to be ongoing and onsite (through formal or informal support systems),

as well as preparatory. Proficiency and professional awareness are equally to be promoted, the

latter imparted, wherever necessary, through the teachers’ own languages. All teachers who

teach English should have basic proficiency in English. All teachers should have the skills to

teach English in ways appropriate to their situation and levels based on some knowledge of how

languages are learnt. A variety of materials should be available to provide an input-rich

curriculum, which focuses on meaning.

Language evaluation need not be tied to “achievement” with respect to particular syllabi, but

must be reoriented to the measurement of language proficiency. Evaluation is to be made an

enabling factor for learning rather than an impediment. Ongoing assessment could document a

learner's progress through the portfolio mode. National benchmarks for language proficiency

need to be evolved preliminary to designing a set of optional English language tests that will

balance curricular freedom with standardization of evaluation that certification requires, and

serve to counter the current problem of English (along with Mathematics) being a principal

reason for failure at the Class X level. A student may be allowed to “pass without English” if an

alternative route for English certification (and therefore instruction) can be provided outside the

regular school curriculum.

Learning to Read and Write

Though we strongly advocate an integrated approach to the teaching of different skills of

language, the school does need to pay special attention to reading and writing in many cases,

particularly in the case of home languages. In the case of second and third, or classical or foreign

languages, all the skills, including communicative competence, become important. Children

appear to learn much better in holistic situations that make sense to them rather than in a linear

and additive way that often has no meaning. Rich and comprehensible input should constitute the

site for acquisition of all the different skills of language. In several communicative situations,

such as taking notes while listening to somebody on the phone, several skills may need to be

used together. We really wish children to read and write with understanding. Language – as a

constellation of skills, thought encoders and markers of identity–cuts across school subjects and


Speech and listening, reading and writing, are all generalized skills, and children’s mastery over

them becomes the key factor affecting success at school. In many situations, all of these skills

need to be used together. This is why it is important to view language education as everybody’s

concern at school, and not as a responsibility of the language teacher alone. Also, the

foundational role of the skills associated with language does not stop with the primary or

elementary classes, but extends all the way up to secondary and senior secondary classes as new

needs arise in the subject areas. Development of life skills such as critical thinking skills,

interpersonal communication skills, negotiation/refusal skills, decision making/ problem-solving

skills, and coping and self-management skills is also very critical for dealing with the demands

and challenges of everyday life.

The conventionally trained language teacher associates the training of speech with correctness

rather than with the expressive and participatory functions of language. This is why talking in

class has a negative value in our system, and a great deal of the teacher's energy goes into

keeping children quiet, or getting them to pronounce correctly. If teachers see the child's talk as a

resource rather than as a nuisance, the vicious cycle of resistance and control would have a

chance to be turned into a cycle of expression and response. There is a vast body of knowledge

available on how talk can be used as a resource, and pre- and in-service teacher education

programmes must introduce teachers to this.

Designers of textbooks and teacher manuals could also plan and provide precise guidance to

teachers regarding ways in which the subject matter can be explored further with the help of

small group talk among children, and undertaking activities that nurture the abilities to compare

and contrast, to wonder and remember, to guess and challenge, to judge and evaluate. In the orbit

of listening, similar detailed planning of activities for incorporation in textbooks and teacher

manuals would go a long way in resurrecting the significant skill and value area. It covers the

ability to pay attention, to value the other person’s point of view, to stay in touch with the

unfolding utterance, and to make flexible hypotheses about the meaning of what is being said.

Listening, thus, forms as complex a web of skills and values as talking does. Locally available

resources include folklore and storytelling, community singing and theatre. Storytelling is

appropriate not only for pre-school education, but continues to be significant even later. As a

narrative discourse, orally told the stories lay the foundations of logical understanding even as

they expand the imagination and enhance the capacity to participate vicariously in situations

distant from one’s life. Fantasy and mystery play an important role in child development. As a

sector of language learning, listening also needs to be enriched with the help of music, which

includes folk, classical and popular compositions. Folklore and music also deserve a place in the

language textbook as discourses capable of being developed with the help of exercises and

activities unique to them.

While reading is readily accepted as a focus area for language education, school syllabi are

burdened with information-absorbing and memorising tasks, so much so that the pleasure of

reading for its own sake is missed out. Opportunities for individualised reading need to be built

at all stages in order to promote a culture of reading, and teachers must set the example of being

members of such a culture. This requires the nurturing of school and community libraries. The

perception that the reading of fiction is a waste of time acts as a major means of discouraging


The development and supply of a range of supplementary reading material relevant to all school

subjects and across the grades require urgent attention. A great deal of such material, though of

varying quality, is available in the market, and could be utilised in a methodical manner to

expand the scope of classroom teaching of a subject. Teacher training programmes need to

familiarise teachers with such material, and to give them yardsticks by which to select and use it


The importance of writing is well recognised, but the curriculum needs to attend to its innovative

treatments. Teachers insist that children write in a correct way. Whether they express their own

thoughts and feelings through writing is not considered too important. Just as the prematurely

imposed discipline of pronunciation stifles the child's motivation to talk freely, in his or her own

dialect, for instance, the demand for writing in mechanically correct ways blocks the urge to use

writing to express or to convey one's ideas.

Teachers need to be persuaded and trained to place writing in the same domain as artistic

expression, and to cease perceiving it as an office skill. During the primary years, writing

abilities should be developed holistically in conjunction with the sensibilities associated with

talking, listening, and reading. At middle and senior levels of schooling, note making should

receive attention as a skill-development training exercise. This will go a long way in

discouraging mechanical copying from the blackboard, textbooks and guides. It is also necessary

to break the routinisation of tasks like letter and essay writing, so that imagination and originality

are allowed to play a more prominent role in education.

Self Assessment:

 What do you mean by language policy?

 Elaborate on the Language policy in India.

 What are the Constitutional provisions of language education in India?

 What was the impact Kothari Commission had on language education in India?

 Critically discuss National Curriculum Framework and its bearing on language education

in India.

Suggested Readings:

M. Sridhar and Sunita Mishra. Language Policy and Education in India. New Delhi: Routledge

India, 2016.

Viniti Vaish. Biliteracy and Globalization: English Language Education in India. Michigan:

Multilingual Matters, 2008.

Kemp et al. Designing Effective Instruction. Macmillan Publications, 1994.

National Curriculum Framework Document. New Delhi: NCERT, 2005.



Descriptive Grammar


i) Tenses: simple tense, narration, use of simple

present for demonstration and commentaries,

present perfect, present perfect continuous,

present continuous also indicative of future action.

ii) Simple past: past time reference, past perfect,

past perfect continuous


By going through this unit, you will be able to understand:

 The definition of Descriptive Grammar.

 The definition and use of Tenses.

 The various kinds of tenses.

Descriptive Grammar:- It can be defined as a set of rules about language based on how it is

actually used. It was influenced by the modern linguistics which aims to study language

scientifically in “how it exists” rather than “how it should be”. This type of grammar is the basis

of the modern methods of teaching which emphasize on the communication rather than pure

grammar. The rules in descriptive grammar avoid normative judgements on language like

right/wrong language or superior/inferior language. It is contrasted with the traditionally used

prescriptive grammar, which is a set of rules based on how people think language should be

used, i.e., “how language should be.” For instance, it might include an utterance like “He

goes…” meaning “He said.” According to the modern linguists, the learners in the classroom

should be encouraged to move away from a prescriptive approach to grammar by using a guided

discovery, or inductive approach in which they themselves look for examples of variations in

language with respect to grammatical rules in texts and conversations. These examples can be

compared to prescriptive rules in order to decide if they are useful or not. Descriptive Grammar

is an objective, non-judgemental description of the grammatical constructions in a language.

Specialists in descriptive grammar are pure linguists who examine the principles and patterns

that underlie the use of words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. In contrast, prescriptive

grammarians attempt to enforce rules concerning ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect usage’.

Tense and its Kinds:

It is a form of verb which indicates when an action or state of being occurs or exists. It is also

defined as the property of indicating the point in time at which an action or state of being occurs

or exists. Tense of a sentence gives an idea of the time when the incident mentioned in the

sentence takes place. At the same time it is the most critical factor that can lead people to

mistakes while framing a sentence or while identifying the time of events. So, one has to be

careful while using tenses in the sentence. For instance, the examples below illustrate the chief

tenses (Active voice, Indicative Mood) of the verb “to play”:

Present Tense:

Singular Number -- Plural Number

1st Person – I play -- We play

2nd person -- You play -- You play

3rd Person -- He plays -- They play

Past Tense:

Singular Number -- Plural Number

1st Person -- I played -- We played

2nd person -- You played -- You played

3rd Person -- He played -- They played

Future Tense:

Singular Number -- Plural Number

1st Person -- I shall/will play -- We shall/will play

2nd person -- You will play -- You will play

3rd Person -- He will play -- They will play

The different kinds of tenses in English are:

Present Tenses:

Simple Present Tense or Present Indefinite Tense: In Simple Present, the action is simply

mentioned in present time and there is nothing being said about its completeness.

I eat.

I sleep.

I play.

Present Continuous Tense: In Present Continuous, an on-going/still going on and hence

continuous, action is mentioned.

I am eating.

I am sleeping.

I am playing.

Present Perfect Tense: In Present Perfect, the action is complete or has ended and hence termed


I have eaten.

I have slept.

I have played.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense: In Present Perfect Continuous, the action has been taking

place for some time and is still ongoing.

I have been eating.

I have been sleeping.

I have been playing.

Past Tenses:

Simple Past Tense or Past Indefinite Tense: In Simple Past, the action is simply mentioned

and said to have taken place in the past.

I ate.

I slept.

I played.

Past Continuous Tense: In Past Continuous, the action was ongoing till a certain time in the


I was eating.

I was sleeping.

I was playing.

Past Perfect Tense: Past Perfect is used to express something that happened before another

action in the past.

I had eaten.

I had slept.

I had played.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense: Past Perfect Continuous is used to express something that

started in the past and continued until another time in the past.

I had been eating.

I had been sleeping.

I had been playing.

Future Tenses:

Simple Future Tense or Future Indefinite Tense: Simple Future is used when we plan or

make a decision to do something. Nothing is said about the time in the future.

I will eat.

I will sleep.

I will play.

Future Continuous Tense: The future continuous tense is used to express action at a particular

moment in the future. However, the action will not have finished at the moment.

I will be eating at 9 a.m.

I will be sleeping when you arrive.

I will be playing at 5 p.m.

Future Perfect Tense: Future Perfect expresses action that will occur in the future before

another action in the future.

I will have eaten before 10 a.m.

I will have slept before you arrive.

I will have played before 6 p.m.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense: Future Perfect Continuous is used to talk about an on-going

action before some point in the future.

I will have been sleeping for two hours when you arrive.

I will have been playing for an hour when it is 5 p.m.

Self Assessment:

 Define Descriptive Grammar.

 Give definition and use of Tenses.

 What are the various kinds of tenses?

 Carry out exercises using various tenses.

Suggested Readings:

On Writing Well: A Classic Guide To Writing by William Zinsser.

Raymond Murphy. English Grammar in Use. Cambridge: CUP, 2015.

R Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.

Cambridge: CUP, 2002.

Second Language Grammar: Learning and Teaching by William Rutherford.





i) R. K. Narayan

ii) Rabindharanath Tagore

iii) Leo Tolstoy (Read and review one book of

each writer)


By going through this unit, you will be able to know about:

 The biographies of authors like R.K. Narayan, Tagore and Tolstoy.

 About their writings through reading them.

 Reading the reviews of their famous works.

 The art of reviewing a book.

 You will have to read at least one book, of your own choice, of the given authors and

then write a review of that book. For the sake of your understanding, a sample review of

R K Narayan’s famous novel The English Teacher has been put here.

Book Review:- A book review may be defined as a form of literary criticism in which a book is

critically analyzed based on its content, style, and merit. A book review could take the form of a

primary source, opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review. Reviewers often review

books for journals, periodicals, magazines and newspapers. Some reviews could be simply as

academic assignments. Some reviews may also be written for publishing sites aiming to sell a

book. The length of a book review often varies; some reviews may contain a single paragraph

while others could be of a considerable essay length. Book reviewing often involves a subjective

critique depending upon the personal taste of the reviewer. A reviewer may use the book review

for an exploratory essay that can be closely or loosely related to the content of the book. The

reviewers may also often come up their own ideas on the topic of a work of fiction or non-
fiction, but he also needs to keep objective evaluation or criticism in consideration while

reviewing a book.

i). R. K. Narayan:

Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami, popularly known as R.K. Narayan, was a

prominent Indian author who wrote famous novels and short-stories in English. He was born on

10 October, 1906 in Chennai which was then known as Madras. His novels and stories are often

set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He is regarded as one of the finest novelists in

Indian English writing whose works continue to evoke interest among readers. Alongwith his

contemporaries like Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao, he helped popularize the Indian English

literature among the world audiences.

R.K. Narayan is known for portraying the everyday social reality with a touch of irony, humour

and satire in his novels. He is also known for his commonplace characters and simplicity of his

prose. But the narration of his stories has always been praised as he has been compared to

famous writers like William Faulkner, Guy de Maupassant and Anton Chekhov.

During the course of his illustrious literary career, R.K. Narayan has been bestowed with

numerous awards, prizes and honours. He won his first major award in 1958, the Sahitya

Akademi Award for his famous novel The Guide which was later on adopted to a film which

itself became an all time hit movie and for which, he also received the Filmfare Award for the

best story. In 1964, he received the Padma Bhushan during the Republic Day honours. In 1980,

he was awarded the AC Benson Medal by the British Royal Society of Literature, of which he

was an honorary member. In 1982, he was elected an honorary member of the American

Academy of Arts and Letters. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature multiple

times, but never won the honour. In 1989, for his highly valuable contributions to Indian

literature, R.K. Narayan was nominated to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament

for a six-year term. Just some time before his death in 2001, he was also awarded with India’s

second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan.

R. K. Narayan wrote his first novel Swami and Friends in 1930 at the age of twenty four.

However, a number of publishers refused to publish it as they didn’t find it interesting. It was

only after the effort of his mentor and friend, the eminent British novelist, Graham Greene, to

whom he would send the manuscripts that a publisher agreed to publish his novel. Interestingly,

it was Graham Greene who suggested Narayan on shortening his name to become more familiar

to the English-speaking audience It was in this novel that R.K. Narayan first introduced his

fictional town Malgudi, a town that becomes a creative microcosm of the social, economic and

political sphere of the country in which the lives of his characters are explored. Later on,

Malgudi would be the setting of his all fictional works. Swami and Friends was followed by The

Bachelor of Arts (1937), and The Dark Room (1938). His first collection of short stories Malgudi

Days was published in November 1942. Another of his famous novels The English Teacher was

published in 1945. Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher, together

form what is popularly known as his semi-autobiographical trilogy (a trilogy is a set of three

related works of an author). These novels have been called semi-autobiographical because they

are partly based on the events of his personal life. The success of these novels established him as

a prominent writer. Afterwards, Narayan produced more popular novels as The Financial Expert

in 1951, Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), The Guide (1958), The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961),

The Vendor of Sweets (1967), The Painter of Signs (1977), etc. He also wrote numerous short-

story collections and non-fiction works.

R. K. Narayan is known for his unassuming writing technique which had a natural element of

humour about it. It generally focused on ordinary people, reminding the reader of next-door

neighbours, cousins and the like, thereby providing a greater ability to relate to the topic. Unlike

his national contemporaries, he was able to write about the intricacies of Indian society without

having to modify his characteristic simplicity to conform to trends and fashions in fiction

writing. He also employed the use of nuanced dialogic prose with gentle South Indian overtones

based on the nature of his characters. According to the Pulitzer Prize winning Indian-American

writer Jhumpa Lahiri, Narayan can be compared to the great 19th century French short-story

writer Guy de Maupassant for “his ability to compress the narrative without losing the story, and

the common themes of middle-class life written with an unyielding and unpitying vision.”

However, some critics have also criticized Narayan’s writings for being more descriptive and

less analytical. But almost everyone recognizes Narayan’s characteristics of humour and energy

of ordinary life while displaying compassionate humanism in his writings.

A Short Review of R. K. Narayan’s The English Teacher:

One of his more famous novels The English Teacher by R.K. Narayan was published in 1945.

Alongwith Swami and Friends and The Bachelor of Arts, The English Teacher is part of the

semi-autobiographical trilogy of Narayan as these novels are partly based on the events of his

personal life. After the death of his ailing wife Rajam who suffered from typhoid in 1939,

Narayan was deeply affected and he remained depressed for a long time. He was particularly

concerned for their daughter Hema who was only three years old at that time. This bereavement

and the subsequent travails in his personal life affected him significantly which ultimately

inspired the writing of The English Teacher.

The novel combines tragic and humorous elements in a deft artistic way. It is a stirring account

which mainly revolves around the life of its chief protagonist, Krishna, who, in the beginning of

the novel, is a commonplace English Teacher living a dull and monotonous life devoid of

purpose and meaning. Krishna is, in part, a fictional representation of Narayan himself. In a way,

the novel traverses the journey of Krishna from being an ordinary teacher to the head of his

family and to an enlightened being, but not before coming across sorrows and tragedies in his

life. As an English teacher and lecturer at Albert Mission College, Krishna is living a mundane

and monotonous lifestyle which the novelist compares to that of a cow. Soon his life takes a turn

when his wife, Susila, and their child, Leela, come to live with him. Susila is character is based

on the life of Narayan’s wife Rajam. With their welfare on his hands, Krishna learns to be a

proper husband and learns how to accept the responsibility of taking care of his family. He feels

a new meaning and responsibility in his life in which he could “afford to do what seems to work,

something which satisfies [his] innermost aspiration.” However, soon his life takes another turn

on the day when Susila contracts typhoid after visiting a dirty lavatory, keeping her in bed for

weeks. Throughout the entire course of her illness, Krishna constantly tries to keep an optimistic

view about Susila’s illness, keeping his hopes up by thinking that her illness would soon be

cured. However, quite tragically, Susila passes away. Krishna, destroyed by her loss, has suicidal

thoughts but gives them up for the sake of his daughter, Leela. He leads his life as a lost and

miserable person after her death, but after receiving a letter from a stranger who indicates that

Susila has been in contact with him and that she wants to communicate with Krishna, he

becomes more collected and cheerful. This leads to Krishna’s journey in search of

enlightenment, with the stranger acting as a medium to Susila in the spiritual world. Leela, on the

other hand, goes to a preschool where Krishna gets to meet the headmaster, a profound man who

cares for the students in his school and teaches them moral values through his own subjective

methods. This also appears to be a subtle critique of the educational system in India which puts

much emphasis on the top-down morality and knowledge inculcation without inculcating

creativity among the young learners. The Headmaster puts his students as his top priority but he

doesn’t care for his own family and children, eventually leaving them on the day predicted by an

astrologer as to be when he was going to die, which do not come true. Krishna gets to learn

through the headmaster on the journey to enlightenment; eventually learning to communicate to

Susila on his own, thus concluding the entire story itself, with the quote that he felt “a moment of

rare immutable joy”.

The prose of the novel has a simplicity and lucidity about it in a typical characteristic Narayan

style. The novel has a linear and cohesive plot line. The characters are all life-like and as readers,

we can also relate to their lives—their happiness, their joys, their travails, and their sorrows

alike. And the very phenomenon of readers relating to the lives of the fictional characteristics is

what the essential ingredient of literature is. There is an implicit, but yet a charming humour in

the novel. However, at times, the novel also gives us an impression of a plain narrative telling us

a straightforward story of an ordinary teacher which appears too descriptive. But it is the artistic

deftness of Narayan which attempts to transform the dull prose into sublimity through a

combination of plain narrative with the tragic alternations which seem to undertake philosophical

tones, and which can be compared to the best of the authors of fiction. There are profound

passages in the novel which testify to this, like, for instance: … Living without illusion seemed

to be the greatest task for me… A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life. All

else is false. My mother has got away from her parents, my sisters from our house, I and my

brother away from each other, … , my earliest friends- where are they? They scatter apart like

the droplets of a water-spray. The law of life…

As a whole, the novel The English Teacher is a good book to read and it displays one of those

characteristic features of R.K. Narayan as a novelist combining subtle humour with deft pathos,

but all achieved through a remarkable lucidity and clarity of prose narration.

Self Assessment:

 Define Book Review.

 What is your impression of R K Narayan’s The English Teacher after reading its review?

 Compulsorily read at least one book, of your own choice, of the given authors and then

write a review of that book.

Suggested Readings:

R. K. Narayan. The English Teacher. London: Methuen, 1945.

-----------. The Bachelor of Arts. London: Nelson, 1937.

Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace. New York. Maple Press, 2012.

-------------. Anna Karenina. London: Penguin, 2003.

Rabindharanath Tagore. Gitanjali. New Delhi: Rupa, 2002.

-------------. Religion of Man. New Delhi: Niyogi Books, 2012.