What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

General discussion about learning languages
User avatar
verdastelo
Orange Belt
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:20 pm
Location: Panchkula, India
Languages: Punjabi (N), Hindi-Urdu (near-native), English (advanced learner), Russian (B1+), French (A1+)
x 420
Contact:

What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby verdastelo » Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:13 am

And is the medium of instruction different from the language of the locals? Are your textbooks in a local language, the national language, or a foreign language? Can you write school and university exams in your native, local, or national language? I'm asking this because of the medieval (linguistically) situation of schooling and university education in India.

Situation In India
Hindi dominates in terms of native speakers. Almost half of India (47.86 percent) speaks Hindi-Urdu as their first language. Another 13.58 percent Indians study Hindi as a second or third language. It means that 61.44 percent people in India can converse in Hindi. There is no practical reason for Hindi-speakers to study another Indian language. For me, that's not a big problem because Punjabi and Hindi are like Ukrainian and Russian. But for a Tamil speaker, Hindi can be difficult. So there is a genuine fear if Hindi becomes the sole official language of India, non-Hindi speakers will be discriminated against. Politicians on both sides of the divide are hopeless. I personally find that pro-Hindi politicians are idiots and anti-Hindi politicians are opportunists.

Pro-Hindi politicians are idiots because they want everyone to learn Hindi. But in their own states, they never teach any Indian language. The same logic that English-speakers seem to employ today. "If everyone is learning English, why should we waste time on French conjugation or Chinese characters?" However, unlike English, Hindi is a poor language. There is an absolute dearth of non-fiction literature in Hindi. You cannot use Hindi in India's supreme court. There is hardy any university or college where you can study medicine, engineering, or computer science in Hindi. And I heard somewhere that you cannot even open a bank account in India if you don't sign in English. In an extreme case a man was sentenced to death and the convicted person couldn't even read his death sentence because it was in English. This lack of practical use bundled together with the some institutional support from the Indian government creates a perfect bogeyman for our elites and many opportunist anti-Hindi politicians.

Nothing sums up my feelings towards our elites better than the opening of this Reddit post: "The vast majority of our Anglophone elite is so deracinated and disconnected from Indians outside their South Delhi, South Bombay, and Civil Lines gated communities, that they Orientalise and Other the rest of India, the way they've seen Western scholars and journalists do." In fact, our elites erupted in furor when the Indian government in 2019 suggested to conduct at least primary education in a child's mother tongue. Dozens of idiotic articles this one were written in favor of teaching in English in a country where around 90% of people don't speak any English. Forbes, which is a foreign publication in an anglophone country, published a more sympathetic article The Problem With The English Language In India.

Those elites don't understand that even if I put my national, regional, and linguistic pride aside and ignore sound pedagogy, I'll fail! It's logistically impossible to educate 1,400 million people in a foreign language. Those elites can travel to the US or the UK, but for the vast majority we don't have enough teachers. Instead what we have are English-medium schools where the teachers who don't speak English teach students who don't speak English through textbooks written in (often bad) English.

I'm not against the teaching English as a foreign language but I'm against teaching of science, history, mathematics in English in our society. I've seen the harm it does. Many of my brilliant classmates opted out of school because they couldn't cope with learning in English. I would have admired our anti-Hindi politicians if they had batted for Tamil, Telugu, or Bengali. But, no. The current situation of those languages is as bad as of Hindi. So I call them opportunists because they talk much about Hindi Imposition but do almost nothing to support their own languages.
11 x
The life of man is but a succession of vain hopes and groundless fears. — Monte(s)quieu

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 5535
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 14534
Contact:

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby rdearman » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:46 am

There are similar problems in the UK and Ireland. For Welsh and Irish being used in school is more of an after thought. My daughters when we lived in Ireland had a class in Irish and were required to attend an immersion program for a couple of weeks. But Irish was in effect a second language.

In Wales there is a drive by the government to have instruction in both Welsh and English but only 30% of teachers are certified Welsh speakers and only 20% speak Welsh natively. The government spends a fortune on textbooks in Welsh and this is another thing to consider, published textbooks in English would be cheaper.

Material costs would be a significant barrier to entry for any language which has to replace the materials already deployed. Open source or creative commons textbooks have been useful for this, because it allows people to translate high-quality textbooks.

So if as individuals we wanted to make a difference then helping to translate creative commons textbooks could tip the balance in favour local language from the point of view of the school budget committee.
7 x
Anyone who thinks assembly language programming is difficult, obviously hasn't used Rust.

The Autodidactic Podcast
The Lollygagging Podcast

User avatar
Le Baron
Orange Belt
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:14 pm
Location: Pays-Bas
Languages: English (N), Dutch, French, German, Esperanto (a very worthy language). Studying: Spanish, Swahili, rather slowly, but surely. Also Sranantongo in the past with my wife, but it has lapsed.
x 363

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby Le Baron » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:49 pm

A great OP informing me of things about which I knew very little. I didn't know there was so little non-fiction published in Hindi (Hindi-Urdu). I did know that English occupies an elitist position, but didn't know it was as little as 10% with proficiency. Is it really that low? I had neighbours from Kerala when I still lived in the UK and they spoke very good English, no doubt part of this minority.

The problem of the blind leading the blind - as indicated when you wrote:
what we have are English-medium schools where the teachers who don't speak English teach students who don't speak English through textbooks written in (often bad) English

Is perhaps not as pronounced everywhere, but it does exist everywhere, even in Europe. Where you have people deciding on other people's (and their own competence) without sufficient capability.

rdearman mentioned Welsh. I was at school in Bangor for some time and then later in England right near the Welsh border. The language of instruction was English, but we students, or a group of us, petitioned for Welsh to be taught as a 'foreign language' subject. It seemed logical as it is both a native language of the area and the nearest practically available non-English language. It came to nought of course, largely because of LEA sloth, disinterest and curriculum ideology. Instead of the national view being "yes, it's one of our national languages, let's teach it widely!", it's just in constant maintenance mode with 'initiatives' to keep it afloat.
4 x

User avatar
smallwhite
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2237
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Location: Hong Kong
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch.
.
x 4228

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby smallwhite » Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:19 pm

verdastelo wrote:And is the medium of instruction different from the language of the locals? Are your textbooks in a local language, the national language, or a foreign language? Can you write school and university exams in your native, local, or national language?

Location: Hong Kong, a city now of China

Local spoken language: Cantonese

Local written language: Written Chinese, but English is also an official language and appears alongside Written Chinese on anything slightly formal. Cantonese has no proper writing system, but can be written somehow, but usually only in informal settings and not in large paragraphs (imagine writing/reading "gr8" and "wanna" in long paragraphs).

School: there are Chinese-medium schools, that take Chinese-medium public exams that you must answer in Chinese, and English-medium schools, that take English-medium public exams that you must answer in English. In English-medium schools, Chinese language and Chinese history classes would still be in Chinese.

University: used to be in English with English textbooks, could have relaxed a bit now, also since there've been more institutions granted university status.


Our textbooks in English are written in good English, I think because we are aware that our English must be editted professionally before publishing.

Since Cantonese is hard to write and type, and Written Chinese is hard to type and is not our native language anyway, we often type in English even when our English is not gr8. (tldr OP)
7 x
Dialang or it didn't happen.

User avatar
verdastelo
Orange Belt
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:20 pm
Location: Panchkula, India
Languages: Punjabi (N), Hindi-Urdu (near-native), English (advanced learner), Russian (B1+), French (A1+)
x 420
Contact:

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby verdastelo » Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:26 pm

rdearman wrote:Material costs would be a significant barrier to entry for any language which has to replace the materials already deployed. Open source or creative commons textbooks have been useful for this, because it allows people to translate high-quality textbooks.


It reminds me of what Acharya Prashant said in a long sermon: "There are two reasons to keep a language alive: Practical or emotional." In the first field, English wins handsomely. Welsh cannot compete. What can save Welsh is the attitude of its speakers. Are they supportive of translations? Or do they think it's a waste of time and resources? And probably translation into Welsh is anti-democratic because only 28% of people in Wales consider it as their native language?

Le Baron wrote:A great OP informing me of things about which I knew very little. I didn't know there was so little non-fiction published in Hindi (Hindi-Urdu).


There is almost nothing. You will have a hard time finding a translation of Goethe, Maupassant, or Chesterton. Amazon.in lists only one Hindi translation for Goethe, one for Maupassant, and none for Chesterton. My wife and I traveled 70 kilometers to find a mathematics book in Punjabi. It was on introductory calculus and was published in 1973. The situation with Hindi might be marginally better, but I have no hopes. On this forum, we have laughed at those delusional French people who think their language will be the world's most spoken in 2050. With Hindi, the situation is worse. There are many who will show you someone learning Hindi in Germany or the United States and be convinced that Hindi is already a "world language."

Also, why will you write a mathematics or history book in Hindi if all the university education is exclusively in English? Don't speak English?! Don't study!

This was the state of our elite public institutions in 2016:

As the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) is conducted in both Hindi and English, many students from Hindi-medium schools manage to enter IITs across the country. It is after classes begin that things get tough — they fail to understand the study material and lectures, which are predominantly made in English. Sources said many IITs, including the ones in Delhi and Roorkee, have witnessed a large number of such students failing or performing poorly due to this issue.

Instead of translating books into Hindi and other Indian languages, their solution is to teach these students English. "Scored well on mathematics and physics in school but don't speak English? We'll teach you English first and then science." If it were a Daniil Kharms story, I would have laughed. But life is more absurd than his stories.

Le Baron wrote:I did know that English occupies an elitist position, but didn't know it was as little as 10% with proficiency.


Ten percent is a figure gathered from the 2011 census. It's the number of people who claim to speak English. No one measured their proficiency. To me, it is an overestimate. Here are my reasons.

  1. English Wikipedia Readers. The English Wikipedia receives 691M a month from India. That's firmly between the visitors from the UK (939M) and Canada (410M). A back of the envelope calculation: If it takes 66.65 million people (UK population) to generate 939M impressions on the English Wikipedia, then 691M views from India must have come from 48.7 million speakers, or 3.5 percent of our population.
  2. TV Viewers. The most popular Hindi movie channels get 1318.61 (thousand, STAR Gold) and 1260.93 (thousand, Dhinchaak) views a week. The comparable number for English movie channels is 29.42 (thousand, STAR Movies) and 26.29 (STAR Pix). A back of the envelope calculation shows that if 60% of the population produces 1318.61 + 1260.93 views in a week than 29.42 + 26.29 views must be produced by 1.30% of India's population.

A more favorable picture emerges when you consider newspaper sales. About 15.50 percent of newspaper readers get their copies in English, compared to 42.71 percent in Hindi. That I believe can be explained by three factors: English speakers are generally rich and can afford a paper, English speakers almost always live in cities where you can subscribe to a newspaper, and English speakers are educated, unlike many Hindi speakers who cannot even read. I have seen several. They cannot read.

This situation has prompted me to learn French. I want to understand the situation in Senegal, Morocco, and Algeria. I have already read a few arguments from arguably Nigerian and Philippine elites, who speak against introducing local languages in schools and universities.


smallwhite wrote: School: there are Chinese-medium schools, that take Chinese-medium public exams that you must answer in Chinese, and English-medium schools, that take English-medium public exams that you must answer in English. In English-medium schools, Chinese language and Chinese history classes would still be in Chinese.


Can you suggest a few online bookstores that sell textbooks? Is there a website where school or university books can be accessed? You can find Indian school books on the National Council of Research and Training website.
4 x
The life of man is but a succession of vain hopes and groundless fears. — Monte(s)quieu

User avatar
smallwhite
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2237
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Location: Hong Kong
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch.
.
x 4228

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby smallwhite » Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:59 pm

verdastelo wrote:Can you suggest a few online bookstores that sell textbooks? Is there a website where school or university books can be accessed? You can find Indian school books on the National Council of Research and Training website.

No idea, sorry. I looked at your OP again - you'll find plenty of similar debate online, Hong Kong version, as we moved from English (back) to Chinese.
1 x
Dialang or it didn't happen.

User avatar
tungemål
Blue Belt
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 1142

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby tungemål » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:15 pm

I'd like to side with Le Baron in that this was interesting.

When I visited the Philippines I was surprised to learn that they teach the children in English there. One can say that the result is that their english level is very good and much better than in other Asian countries. But at what expense? I think you're right in that it must be a drawback for the education.

How does it actually work - does the teacher stand there speaking English in front of the class, while the poor children don't understand anything?

I was wondering when you mention wikipedia visitors: how many have access to internet in India? Is it near everyone? If not the small number would represent a greater percentage.

verdastelo wrote:
  1. English Wikipedia Readers. The English Wikipedia receives 691M a month from India. That's firmly between the visitors from the UK (939M) and Canada (410M). A back of the envelope calculation: If it takes 66.65 million people (UK population) to generate 939M impressions on the English Wikipedia, then 691M views from India must have come from 48.7 million speakers, or 3.5 percent of our population.
  2. TV Viewers. The most popular Hindi movie channels get 1318.61 (thousand, STAR Gold) and 1260.93 (thousand, Dhinchaak) views a week. The comparable number for English movie channels is 29.42 (thousand, STAR Movies) and 26.29 (STAR Pix). A back of the envelope calculation shows that if 60% of the population produces 1318.61 + 1260.93 views in a week than 29.42 + 26.29 views must be produced by 1.30% of India's population.

A more favorable picture emerges when you consider newspaper sales. About 15.50 percent of newspaper readers get their copies in English, compared to 42.71 percent in Hindi. That I believe can be explained by three factors: English speakers are generally rich and can afford a paper, English speakers almost always live in cities where you can subscribe to a newspaper, and English speakers are educated, unlike many Hindi speakers who cannot even read. I have seen several. They cannot read.
1 x

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 5535
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 14534
Contact:

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby rdearman » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:21 pm

tungemål wrote:I'd like to side with Le Baron in that this was interesting.

When I visited the Philippines I was surprised to learn that they teach the children in English there. One can say that the result is that their english level is very good and much better than in other Asian countries. But at what expense? I think you're right in that it must be a drawback for the education.

How does it actually work - does the teacher stand there speaking English in front of the class, while the poor children don't understand anything?

I was wondering when you mention wikipedia visitors: how many have access to internet in India? Is it near everyone? If not the small number would represent a greater percentage.

verdastelo wrote:
  1. English Wikipedia Readers. The English Wikipedia receives 691M a month from India. That's firmly between the visitors from the UK (939M) and Canada (410M). A back of the envelope calculation: If it takes 66.65 million people (UK population) to generate 939M impressions on the English Wikipedia, then 691M views from India must have come from 48.7 million speakers, or 3.5 percent of our population.
  2. TV Viewers. The most popular Hindi movie channels get 1318.61 (thousand, STAR Gold) and 1260.93 (thousand, Dhinchaak) views a week. The comparable number for English movie channels is 29.42 (thousand, STAR Movies) and 26.29 (STAR Pix). A back of the envelope calculation shows that if 60% of the population produces 1318.61 + 1260.93 views in a week than 29.42 + 26.29 views must be produced by 1.30% of India's population.

A more favorable picture emerges when you consider newspaper sales. About 15.50 percent of newspaper readers get their copies in English, compared to 42.71 percent in Hindi. That I believe can be explained by three factors: English speakers are generally rich and can afford a paper, English speakers almost always live in cities where you can subscribe to a newspaper, and English speakers are educated, unlike many Hindi speakers who cannot even read. I have seen several. They cannot read.

The PI used to be a colony of the USA, so there is a lot of US influence there.
1 x
Anyone who thinks assembly language programming is difficult, obviously hasn't used Rust.

The Autodidactic Podcast
The Lollygagging Podcast

User avatar
verdastelo
Orange Belt
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:20 pm
Location: Panchkula, India
Languages: Punjabi (N), Hindi-Urdu (near-native), English (advanced learner), Russian (B1+), French (A1+)
x 420
Contact:

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby verdastelo » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:33 pm

tungemål wrote:How does it actually work - does the teacher stand there speaking English in front of the class, while the poor children don't understand anything?


I believe just like it was in medieval Europe. Scholars could speak in French or Italian but wrote in Latin. Generally our teachers tend to speak in Hindi or a local language but write in English.

tungemål wrote:I was wondering when you mention wikipedia visitors: how many have access to internet in India? Is it near everyone? If not the small number would represent a greater percentage.


98.35 percent of people in cities and 33.00 percent of people in villages have access to the Internet. Because almost all the English speakers of India are in cities, I assume that almost all of them are connected to the Internet. (Source: page 42 on The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators).
2 x
The life of man is but a succession of vain hopes and groundless fears. — Monte(s)quieu

User avatar
vegantraveller
Yellow Belt
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:39 am
Location: Turin, Italy
Languages: Italian (N), English (C2), French (C2), German (B2), Japanese (B2), Spanish (A2), Swedish (A2).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16482
x 203

Re: What is the medium of instruction in your city, state, province, or country?

Postby vegantraveller » Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:15 pm

The situation here in Italy is of course better, even if it can be improved. Italian is the national, official language, taught everywhere, and all textbooks are in Italian. German native speakers in Alto Adige (South Tyrol) have instead German as their main language of instruction, all textbooks are in German, but they are also required to study Italian from primary school. Other minority languages are also studied from primary school, in specific areas where those languages are spoken (Albanian/Arbëreshë, Griko, Catalan, Croatian, French, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladin, Occitan, Sardinian, and Slovene), and some subjects are also taught in them.

There have also been lots of schools offering classes (mainly History, Geography, History of Art, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) partially or entirely taught in foreign languages, mainly in English (to improve pupils' command in the language), but also in German (above all in Trentino-Alto Adige region, for geographical reasons), and French or Spanish (they are Romance languages, quite easy to pick up for Italians, so pupils can get a double-degree, the Italian maturità and the French baccalauréat or Spanish bachillerato).

As far as foreign language is concerned, English is now compulsory from primary school (six years) up to the fifth and last year of secondary school (nineteen years). In Trentino-Alto Adige German is also mandatory.
All pupils also are required to take a second foreign European language in the first three years of secondary school (from eleven to fourteen years), namely French, Spanish, and German. They drop it as a compulsory subject when they go on with their secondary instruction, unless they opt for a foreign-language curriculum or a tourism curriculum (and they also take on a third foreign language), for social studies, or economics.
Foreign languages that can be offered as a third language in secondary school are usually French, Spanish, and German. A good number of schools also offer Mandarin Chinese and Russian, and a few Japanese and Arabic. Some private Jewish schools have Modern Hebrew in their curriculum, for sure.

At the university level, English exams are compulsory everywhere, and a command of it is usually required to get your final degree. A second language exam is also mandatory in some faculties.
Curriculums entirely or partially taught in English are somehow present in Economics and Engineering studies, as well as some Science Faculties too. I know German-taught courses are also available at the University of Trento, where a command of German is compulsory. But, in general, Italian is the primary language of instruction at the university level, too.
5 x
: 146 / 2500 SC JA books
: 1920 / 4500 SC JA films
: 152 / 2500 SC SV books
: 1215 / 4500 SC SV films
I'm a man from Italy, not an owl from Japan :mrgreen:

Please correct my errors!


Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Cainntear, jmar257 and 2 guests