Know Language no barears

One of the pros of being the Avial family is that we are a family that speaks a number of languages at home and outside. H and I can converse pretty well in Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and English. He also knows Telugu and Coorgi pretty well while I can understand Telugu quite a bit  and little of Coorgi.

Neither of us learnt our mother tongue as the first language in school. I learnt English as my first language in school and H learnt Kannada.  We can both read and write English and Kannada pretty well and I can write pretty well in Hindi also.   I cannot read or write Tamil which is my mother tongue. So can I call Tamil my first language? Or English since I opted for that in School? Or since I grew up in Bangalore is Kannada my first language?

If I wanted Narad to become familiar (as in learn reading and writing) with a particular language, I would rather have them pick up a language that either of us is comfortable guiding them in i.e. English, Hindi or Kannada. I would definitely lean towards the universal language – English  and Hindi which is our national language.  If either or them happened to pick up other languages like  my mother tongue or H’s mother tongue to learn , I would be extremely happy since I want them to know as many languages as possible.

That said, Na is extremely fluent in Tamil and has picked up quite a bit of Kannada. She understands Hindi to a certain extent and is also fluent in English now that she goes to school.  Considering that we are not in India, I am very grateful that the child knows so many languages 🙂    With Rad also, I talk primarily in Tamil, H oscillates between Tamil and Kannada. 

We are hoping that they Know all those Languages that fall on their ears with no bar.  This policy of ours however has not been appreciated by many, but we both are of the belief that the more languages our children know, the better they will fare at an overall level.  During the knowing process if they learn to read and write one or some languages, that’s an added bonus.

Regarding my thoughts on how they should learn, I would definitely stick with the formal method of learning till they pick up  the nuances of the language before I expose them to informal methods(I am assuming regional language story books here). This is only because I want them to understand the beauty of any language in its purest form before they can attempt understanding other forms of the language.

I am sending this to the  blogathon at Tulika .

** Updated to add a link to Art’s post which mirrors my thoughts down to cooing of endearments to the little one in Tamil 🙂



  1. sowmya said,

    March 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Hi first time
    and your puppets are impressive

    but there is no Follow option:((

    waiting for the next!

  2. sowmya said,

    March 20, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Please check out WordPress…and if they have Widget that allows viewers to follow your blow…
    it basically tells yu how many are regularly keeping up with posts..and for gives updates on new posts
    it is in Blogger…
    so check out wordpress

  3. March 20, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Hello! Thanks for participating. Here’s to storytelling and language learning without any barriers:)

  4. Swaram said,

    July 27, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Wow! Coorgi is one language I want to learn 🙂

    • Shankari said,

      July 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

      It is a nice language, quite similar to malayalam actually.

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