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Topic Learn Urdu Not French 
Author Iftikhar 
Date Created 21/12/2005 17:20:02 
Message Established 1981
London School of Islamics
An Educational Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
Email: info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112 667

Learn Urdu Not French

Bilingualism is not a problem, it is an asset. As so many pupils in UK have English as a second language or alternative language. We should be celebrating the fact that we have such a diverse language culture in our schools. Indeed, we should try to encourage some of our monolingual native pupils to join in the learning of a community language. Five of the languages that are gaining in popularity are Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Urdu. The future for languages in the United Kingdom is very bright, if we abandon the notion that we have to stick rigidly to French and German.

Welcome to a brave new world in which pupils learn Urdu in all schools right from Nursery level. Bilingual Muslim teachers should be appointed in all schools who are well versed in Urdu Language. It is spoken and understood by nearly four million British Asian. It is a common language from Kabul to Burma. Lord Hasting was appointed the first Governor General of Bengal because he was well versed in Farsi and Urdu. It is a lingua franca in all inner cities where Asians are in majority. British education system has never taken keen interest in the teaching and learning of Urdu and majority of British born Muslim children could not learn to read and write. Credit goes to the Imams from the sub-continent who use Urdu in their Masajid and keep the Urdu language alive. But the British establishments with the help of the so called leaders are forcing Masajid to use English instead of Urdu. Indian and Pakistani films are being shown every where. There are nearly a dozen TVs Channels and radio stations broadcasting in Urdu/Hindi for 24 hours, entertaining Asians through out Western Europe. BBC has been requested to set up a TV Channel in Urdu/Hindi. Musical concerts are being arranged all over the country and top singers from the Sub-continent sing songs for the entertainment of the Public.

It is crucial for the Muslim children from the sub-continent to learn Urdu to keep in touch with their cultural roots. Most of Islamic literature and poetry is in Urdu and not in any other Indian Languages. Therefore, in my opinion, both Muslim parents and schools must teach Urdu so that the children can enjoy the beauty of Urdu literature and poetry. I would like to see even native children learning Urdu and not French so that they can learn to respect and understand British Muslim community through Urdu literature and poetry. The Independent news paper also asks for the teaching of Urdu instead of French in British schools for better race relations through a language.
Iftikhar Ahmad

Topic Learn Urdu Not French - dont be ridiculous 
Author jd 
Date Created 23/12/2005 09:45:27 
Message i disagree with a lot of the things you say on this forum, but you say that muslims should be encouraged to be tought bilingually in order to keep in touch with their roots - i disagree - but fair enough - that is your opinion.

to say that british pupils should mandatorily be taught Urdu is plain silly - the reason french/german are curricular syubjects in british schools is that britain is part of europe and these language skills may be useful both in a business and recreational capacity - something which in all probablity - Urdu will never be 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author Nickala 
Date Created 04/01/2006 14:55:28 
Message A colleague of mine recently passed on the article you wrote ‘Learn Urdu not French’. I was very interested to read it as it is a view I empathise with. I learnt French and German at school several years ago and found it to be an invaluable experience, however with so many people in the UK speaking Urdu or a language that can be understood by Urdu speakers I think schools should certainly bring it in as an option. A long term aim of mine once I am competent enough is to teach basic Urdu in primary or secondary schools. I have been learning spoken and written Urdu for the last 2 years and have found it fascinating. I’m not sure I agree with your statement that ‘Bilingual Muslim teachers should be appointed in all schools who are well versed in Urdu Language’ as I am not a Muslim and I have already run a couple of taster sessions in Urdu to get people thinking about the language, seeing how easy it is to have a go and pronounce and more importantly to help people learn phrases to help form relationships and start to develop understanding between Asian and non-Asian communities.

Another need I have seen is that there are many people both Asian and non-Asian who learn basic Urdu at a community college but then have limited opportunity or no-where to practice it. I would be grateful if you could let me know of any groups you are aware of that support further Urdu conversational speaking as well as language and cultural development – particularly in the North of England.
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author jd 
Date Created 05/01/2006 11:18:40 
Message no ! no ! no ! no ! no ! no !

what possible use is it to teach british children urdu ? to communicate with muslims obviously - but muslims should be learning to talk british and adapt to a british lifestyle in order to maximise their potential within a british society

i can accept that things change over time, but british society - through government policy - needs to stick to a coherent and rigid idea of what our society should be and to encourage integration - and the best way to do that is through a common language

Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author Nickala 
Date Created 05/01/2006 12:10:12 
Message I agree JD that muslims and anyone else living in England should be learning to talk british and adapt to a british lifestyle in order to maximise their potential within a british society and the wider world inwhich English is such a useful, widely spoken language.

However if children are going to be taught any other languages at all (for communication development, cultural development, historical knowlege, fun) then I don't see why Urdu is any less valid a language to learn alongside the options of French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian which are already being taught in many schools. I also don't see Urdu as just being a way to communicate with Muslims (as I'm sure you are aware Urdu is the language of Pakistan and not Muslims are Pakistani). Many of the South Asian languages are similar so if you can speak Urdu then you will be able to get by speaking in Hindi, with the potential to communicate with over a billion people.
I just believe that the more languages you can speak the more opportunities you have, as well as a way to develop understanding and respect for the cultures behind the languages.  
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author Spammed 
Date Created 05/01/2006 23:34:59 
Message But why not Chinese then Nickala? 1 billion and being able to communicate with a vastly energetic economy?

It would be much better for us all to have a lot more speakers of Mandarin than Urdu. And the literature and civilisation goes back a lot further.

And surely Hindi should be the core South Asian language learnt. Far more primary speakers than Urdu like you say. 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author jd 
Date Created 06/01/2006 07:30:07 
Message i dont really have any objections to the offering of teaching any language in schools as long as it is not mandatory - however i see a problem with the extensive ghettoisation in Britain that even Trevor Phillips now admits to - this is a direct result of communities failing to make the effort to integrate further into the outside community and deciding to rigidly stick to the customs of their original cultures rather than trying to adapt them to be more compatable with the host nation - i can understand how this happens- i lived in another country for a few years and most of my friends were british - it was easier and more comfortable to do - but for someone living here on a long term basis - more effort is required - for the benefit of both immigrants and the host country 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author andrew 
Date Created 06/06/2006 09:20:00 
Message i am a 36 yr old british white male and i have been learning urdu for 3 months.My daughter has also learnt some and has made friends with urdu speaking children at her school there are far more urdu speaking people in this country than german french spanish etc.so this language as an option in schools would make a lot of sense.It is alson the 3rd most common language in the world after chinese and english.I bet most if not all people in the uk know more people who speak urdu as a first language than they do french or german....anyway..i thought us brits hated the french and germans?..lol 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author *10 stars muslim* 
Date Created 15/06/2006 21:39:49 
Message salam brother/sister iftikhar,

British children should be thought arabic not urdu,the language of the Words of god's book! or maybe urdu instead of french/german etc., 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author Spammed 
Date Created 16/06/2006 23:04:33 
Message So what is the criteria then?

If we are talking numbers of speakers world wide we should learn Mandarin Chinese.

If we are looking to teach a current second language of commerce the we should choose French, German or Japanese.

If we are looking to teach Urdu then you are alrady fluent in talking bollocks.

Urdu as a language within the UK will become redundent, just like the loss of Celtic languages such as Gaelic, Cornish and Manx. Just as languages such as Latin have become redundant.

In fact though teaching Latin would have more linguistic benefit than teaching Urdu as it is the basis of so many Western European languages today.

The arguments of history and culture are important but the stories and texts will survive if they are vital enough in whatever language.

However to say that we should look to speak a second language for use within the UK is nonsensical. Surely the time and effort should be on helping people integrate into UK culture and that means speaking English first, second and last.

To try and suggest otherwise is to try and convert the UK into an Eastern Culture and that sirs/madams/kids is ridiculous and could lead to much hurt and strife. 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author andrew 
Date Created 17/06/2006 05:06:47 
Message to say i am fluent in talking bollocks is unfair and just the type of idiotic cack that only the universal language of a smack in the mouth would rectify.Culture??..Britain doesn't have a culture..unless you count the drinking and fighting.What is wrong with speaking urdu as a second language and teaching your children the same?..i live in a big asian community and it has helped us hugely integrate further into patrs of a culture we would maybe not have had much to do with and, in turn, we have introduced some of our new asian friends into our lifestyle.Its all about bridging divides and crossing cultures and we have done this by showing some respect and taking time to learn their language and their culture,its all good,we have made a lot of friends this way,where is the bad in that?!Just because you learn one language doesn't mean you can't learn others,urdu is a good place to start. 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author websitesniper@hotmail.com 
Date Created 27/06/2006 13:47:58 
Message learn football not cricket!! 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author debbiehh 
Date Created 05/07/2006 23:33:38 
Message I have read a few of the above comments but would like to make the point that it is actually very difficult to find a good Urdu teacher and user friendly learning material. I am a Caucasian British citizen and am about to marry a wonderful Pakistani man whom I met in Jordan. However, having visited his family I was desperate to learn basic Urdu in a relatively short space of time. The Hodder & Staughton course is, quite frankly overwhelming without outside help and I have managed to find a wonderful Pakistani lady who helps me with conversation. However, as wonderful as she is, I am finding learning the language very hard because I need to learn the script and the grammar and need a more 'formal' education. Does anyone know where I can go for help please? I want to spend part of my time in Pakistan and would consider teaching English there on basis that I could improve my Urdu in return. Bohat shakria.  
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author Spacemanspiff 
Date Created 15/07/2006 08:47:55 
Message First of all, Urdu is not the lingua-franca of Asians, it is the Lingua-franca of Pakistanis. Dont include Indians, Sri Lankans, Nepalis, Bhutanese and Bangladeshis in your count. They dont speak Urdu.

Secondly, if you want your kids to study Urdu, go to Pakistan. They teach kids Urdu. You are in the United Kingdom. The national language here is English, and that is what the students should be taught in. 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author bazpartu 
Date Created 17/07/2006 09:40:01 
Message here here spaceman! Thinking about a little revolution?You could be hypnotized by this but the fact is Urdu should be taught only in the home. We are english speaking our schools should reflect this. Our liberal leftie attitude to the rise of this 'CULT' could be our undoing. We need to stand up and be proud that we are opposing probably the most threatening movement since the nazis (of which the Baaht party of Iraq is based on by the way)Lets start remembering 7/7 & 9/11 before we go on about the innocents in south lebanon. Lets stop pandering to the small child who stamps his feet when he doest get his way. Be proud - remain british! 
Topic Re: Learn Urdu Not French 
Author Nickala 
Date Created 17/07/2006 09:57:05 
Message Wow, eveyone seems to have got a bit uptight since I last posted a message here. The fact of the matter is that there are people out there that want to learn Urdu so that they can better interact with their families, friends, neighbours and colleagues. I have no doubts that English will continue to be one of the main languages spoken across the world for centuries, but if people want to learn Urdu there should be facilities for them to do so and I for one would encourage that. It seems to me people sit on these forums and discuss things at great length, but are any of us senior decision makers in the field of languages? I wonder what the London School of Islamics makes of all this?!

Debbie asked about good courses for Urdu - I don't know where you are based but I have studied basic Urdu at Bradford and Blackburn colleges, both have a fairly well structured courses and teach you both written and spoken Urdu. 
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