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October 20, 2016

Respecting languages

Newspost

October 20, 2016

The recent episode of the controversial text of a circular distributed by the principal of a private school has invited strong criticism from linguists, language students and researchers for imposing a ban on Punjabi. The English medium private school’s categorisation of the language as ‘foul’ not only perpetuates colonial stereotypes, but also reeks of racism. It’s nothing new, all the so-called elite English medium schools forbid children from speaking any native language. This is how the country’s education system is teaching children how to disown their identity.

We will never be able to acquire native-like efficiency in English or any other second language but surely this kind of unfair dealing with our indigenous languages will make us alienated from our first language which is the sole transmitter of our culture, tradition and distinctive human characteristics. Let us treat our rich linguistic heritage as a cultural asset and not liability. It is the need of the hour to change our language policy so as to add English and Urdu to our repertoire of linguistic skills without destroying our indigenous languages, authentic selves, culture and identity.

Taj Nabi Khan

Islamabad

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