Foreign languages, no more barriers

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The desire to learn a new language is also stimulated by industry verticals. During the college admission season, these institutes see a rush for courses as students applying for courses abroad want to learn the language of the university they are applying for.

Hindustan Times, Gurugram | BySharanya Munsi

The need to know a language goes beyond mere communication. This is what I picked up while reporting on expats in the city learning Hindi and English. While my report mainly focused on expats learning local languages ​​to facilitate their daily life in a foreign country, I also learned other reasons why people want to learn a language other than their own.

A language institute employee I interviewed for the story told me that a few months ago a middle-aged man working for a multinational company approached their desk, slapped a blank check and demanded that he be taught Spanish within the next 10 hours, but on one condition: he only wanted to learn swear words. He said he had just moved to a factory outside Barcelona to take care of his management. If he failed to understand a situation and react appropriately, he might be considered incompetent, he feared.

The desire to learn a new language is also stimulated by industry verticals. During the college admission season, these institutes see a rush for courses as students applying for courses abroad want to learn the language of the university they are applying for. For example, fashion industry enthusiasts embark on Italian lessons while those wishing to enter the automotive industry try to increase their German vocabulary beyond “Das Auto”. Candidates from culinary schools head to French classes to get the right pronunciation of soufflé.

After talking to several expats in the city, who were having trouble using the ‘ki and ‘ka’, something I have yet to master as a Bengali, it was fascinating to see how knowledge of the local language strengthened them. It allows them to be smart and confident, said an expat.

Another said it gave her the power to bargain at Sarojini for supplies for an NGO she helps. Just knowing ‘bahut zyada’ and ‘thoda kam’ made all the difference in how the sellers dealt with her. In another case, a Japanese expat shared that keeping her Hindi skills a secret in the workplace meant she had to know all the gossip before board meetings, including those about her.

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