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Addressing the cool quotient of Telugu

Addressing the cool quotient of Telugu
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Addressing The Cool Quotient of Telugu. The present generation does not consider mother language ‘cool’, declares Uma Gayatri Challa, a self-published...

The present generation does not consider mother language ‘cool’, declares Uma Gayatri Challa, a self-published author of illustrated Telugu books for children.

Challa, who uses the medium of songs, stories, poetry and games to promote Telugu language, is planning a series of workshops and games to bring children and young adults under one roof to help them understand and appreciate the language better.

“We try to hide our identity as a Telugu speaking population”, says Challa, who stresses that this trend is particularly seen among young girls, who often speak with a borrowed accent.

“This habit has probably emerged from dubbed movies, where the lead actress speaking with a certain accent is considered cute.”

The author, who also teaches the French language, believes that the invasion of English in the daily lives of children and young adults has brought about what is called “language attrition”.

“Over 75 per cent of our communication in schools, offices and even homes is in English. In such environments, it is difficult for kids to develop a good Telugu vocabulary”

Gearing up for the International Mother Language Day on February 21, Uma Gayatri, is looking to rope in students to take part in activities planned to spread awareness on Telugu as a language.

“During such special days, we seldom have anything planned for children. I have, therefore, roped in a ventriloquist to come with unique ideas to engage the kids”, she says. Also, a 30-minute documentary on the Telugu people in Tamil Nadu will be aired for students aged over 17 years.

The programmes being planned for the International Mother Language Day is part of an ongoing effort, says Challa, who is also starting a series of lectures on the lines of TED talks.

“I wish to involve young people to talk about Telugu”, she says, lamenting that most proponents of the language are seniors and that the current generation does not have a young role model to look up to. Appreciation of the mother language, Challa believes, will set the base for children to appreciate other languages and cultures.

Mythili Sankara

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