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Learning languages

January 09, 2019


APROPOS the letter ‘Mother tongue’ (Jan 7). The writer has put his viewpoint across exceptionally well except for one fact.

He failed to mention that English, after Urdu, is the official language of Pakistan, and can be learnt across the country without any hindrance. This is why people ambitious to achieve a status in our society prefer English because their academic tasks are usually conducted in this language rather than Urdu, though the importance of the latter cannot be denied.

Furthermore, youth aspiring to sit and pass competitive exams like the Civil Superior Services and other provincial services examinations and other prestigious jobs need command over English. However, the way people learn English is not effective as they rely on a monolingual dictionary. This means they mostly use English-to-English dictionary rather than an English-to-Urdu dictionary.

The candidates would be even better off if the requisite bilingual dictionary is in the mother tongue like Punjabi, Sindhi and Pashto.

Educators must realise that it is necessary to teach and learn multiple languages if we are to progress and prosper.

Iqbal Ahmed Siyal


Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019