India has possessed, for long, a plurilingual nature of its society, and individual Indians have also always shown a flair for many languages without having to identify themselves as speakers of one or other specific language(s). What this means is that to fight the colonial hangover of viewing languages as distinct entities in geographical areas or in individual brains, we need to reorient ourselves to include or incorporate traditional Indian knowledge(s) of how languages are learnt or taught in formal settings. We may also need to stop viewing the ability to use various languages with equal proficiency as the ideal goal and start viewing as THE preferred objective of language education in India the celebration of multiple levels of ‘proficiency’ or ‘competences’ or ‘capabilities’ in different languages that are creatively used to perform the various functions of life successfully.
To do this, the teacher of English (and other languages) must tap into the existing wealth of linguistic knowledge that the learner brings to the classroom, even in the earliest years of school education. How to use this knowledge as a resource in the teaching and learning of English has been touched upon by scholars earlier. At the conference, we hope to be able to deliberate much more on how to do this in different ways in order to maintain the rich linguistic diversity of Indian society and promote the richness of the linguistic repertoire of individual Indians. We also hope to ensure that no more languages are lost due to the imposition of the monolingual view of language learning where the knowledge of an additional language is seen as tolerable at best, and detrimental to the learning of the target language, at worst.
Conference Dates: 16 & 17 Dec 2022 (Friday-Saturday)
In Collaboration with
Shiv Nadar University Chennai