English, please.

With the English-vernacular debate still going on in Pakistan, it seems the people of Karachi, at least, have declared what they want: English. Today’s Daily Times has a report on Karachi’s many private English learning centres and the quality of the training on offer.

30 Comments so far

  1. MB (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

    “Rs 3,000 per course. ” ?? GOD !! Are they nuts…
    Thats like a common man’s monthly income.

    “”We feel uneasy because they stare so much.”
    Poor gul, wish she could knew how desperate our nation is to stare guls. As a friend of mine says every man’s gairat dies when he stares and wakes when other does same to his own.

    Its interesting that we, after spending 12-16 years on a language still not been able to talk in it. Isn’t that the shameful case?. From class one to university. Poor students & their parents.

  2. fAr stAr (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

    an english speaking idiot can get more respect from others then an urdu speaking genius, and thats a pity. the reason for going abroad for further studies for many students is not just to get a better degree but to learn the british/american accent which will help them in future and thats just coz they know ppl will get impressed from their accent and they’ll get better opportunities.

  3. MB (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

    And hey
    Where our ghairat dies when these things happen around us…

    The police have arrested six men who allegedly raped a teenage girl and forced her to parade naked through a village in a so-called “honour punishment”, officials said Wednesday.

  4. SK (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

    Learning another language is not something to brag about, but the thing is for what purpose is a particular language being learned? For instance, Hazrat Umar knew Hebrew, and thus able to read Torah & Injeel (Bible). He was often asked by the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) to go to Jewish settlements and preach Islam.

    The problem is that the english teaching system in our schools is not even close to the worst teaching methods of any lanauge in the whole world. Grammar is only taught in the world till a level of grade 4, 5 maximum, and after that students are encouraged to study advance english, like literature, poetry, and business communication. What happens in Pakistan is on the contrary, we teach poetry and advance english in primary, and then till grade 12 we teach grammar and how to structure a sentence.

    If a village idiot is learning a language just for the sake of getting a higher status in the society then he’s on the wrong way.

  5. Omar R. Quraishi (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

    far star what the hell r u talking about — i studied in the US for 5 years but do not have an American accent — I also studied in the O/A level system and do not have a British accent either — and Im pretty sure that whatever respect or disrespect that I get has nothing to do with how I speak English — on the contrary people make fun if you have one of those weird British or American accents — trust me those whose English is good can tell when someone is putting on a fake accent

  6. BoZz (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

    I do not think the difference between English and Urdu can be put simply to a matter of accents and it’s benefits or lack of.

    Idiots are idiots no matter which language they speak or have learned. That we have more than a fair share of them cannot be blamed on the language alone or else I regretfully will have to say that here too Urdu would loose out.

    Not enough has been done to elevate Urdu in terms of bridging the gap that exists between the type of education that you receive in this language as compared to English. Not near enough translations of books etc.

    Besides the advantages of the English language transcend almost all borders. I am all for retaining and preserving natural culture but besides India and Pakistan, Urdu’s usefulness ends. And we all know that India does not need any help from it either.

    I say teach English to each and every person, young or old of this country. Let us progress.

    Never forget traditional thinking is the biggest impediment of progress.

  7. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

    I say teach English to each and every person, young or old of this country. Let us progress.

    Never forget traditional thinking is the biggest impediment of progress.

    you mean countries like china,japan,korea are not developed because they prefer to advance in their own native languages?

  8. A for [pine]apple (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

    Actually till FSC the stress is given on grammar grammar and grammar … hence spoken english take a back seat and grammar becomes perfect (OK maybe not that perfect) … BTW with the growing minglish trends in an year or so, (good ) urdu is going to be extinct … !

  9. fAr stAr (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

    @A for [pine]apple: (good) urdu is already obsolete. who reads urdu literature or classic poetry. very few ppl. and the main reason is they don’t comprehend it. so minglish is a good scapegoat.

    @Adnan Siddiqi: far eastern countries like china, japan, korea etc developed coz they learn the value of their languages. they translated all the books in their own language which gives their ppl esp. students a chance to read world class material in their own language which is much easier to understand. and we r still ambivalent about the medium to be used in our education system and on government level.

  10. BoZz (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

    We are not China – We are not Korea and we will never be Japan. But I guess it is ok for some of us to dream.

  11. Karachiite (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

    There’s not a SINGLE developed or advanced developing country that has succeeded while using a foreign language. There are dozens of countries ahead of us.

    China is making massive progress and they use their own language. Of the dozens of languages in China they decided to use one, Mandarin.

    But in Pakistan ethnic divisions run so deep that Urdu treated as a alien language with the consequence that English wins by default. Good luck to Pakistan developing with such low self-esteem and lack of internal cohesion.

  12. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

    Bozz who said we are china? i was disagreeing with your theory of progress which you associate with English.

    farstar, we made urdu obselete and still lots of people read urdu stuff. Today most of computing stuff is being translated in Arabic and persian language and we don’t eeven havea standard urdu keyboard and fonts.

  13. original-anon (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

    So you guys learn grammar till you are 18 or so? Then why, oh why, are there so many errors in the posts and comments here?
    For instance, it is stare AT girls, not stare girls.

  14. Karachiite (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

    Part of the reason for mistakes in grammar is that you can’t go back and correct any errors you make.

    Another couple of points I would like to make:

    1) As long as we insist on judging ourselves by how good we speak English than we’ll always be inferior to the goras. The taxi driver in London will always speak better English than the President of Pakistan. Maybe that’s why when a previous President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan met the Queen of England he bowed down his head and said “I will forever be your most humble servant”.

    2) Knowledge of English doesn’t appear to give any major advantage to Pakistani students – in any top American university for every one Pakistani there are maybe 50 Chinese students with weak English, but they get admission and get the best grades.

    Moral: develop the country in your own language unless you want to be forever treated as second-class citizens of the world. If you don’t respect yourself, then why should anyone else respect you?

  15. Cy (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

    Original-Anon: You sly … Haven’t seen you here in a bit.

  16. Rukun (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

    Speaking as a current A level student, Urdu education doesn’t show good prospects. People actually laugh at me when i tell them that i studied Urdu literature at O levels. And even at A levels, the Urdu group at my school is made up of people who were forced to take the subject because they couldn’t take any other. On the other hand, the intermediate and matric streams teach Urdu in a environment where wrote learning is dominant. With all these conditions, we haven’t really given our national language the respect it deserves.

  17. Asad (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

    Karachitte—who was that president?

    Learning a new language is good and we should learn any new language. English being one of the most widely spoken in world is no exception.

    But this should never come at the expense of your own language. I think there is a need for push for our own language. Urdu is struggling to survive. Urdu is our national language. I think all public related features should be in urdu. Be it road signs, directions,major land marks just to name a few. Thats what make us a nation along with so many other distinct features.

  18. karachiite (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    Asad – Farooq Leghari was the President when the Queen came to Pakistan in Oct 1997.

  19. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 12:38 am

    karachite acha? halanki leghari is ex-Oxford graduate.

  20. Sufi (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 1:01 am

    To start with with, its just not urdu which has a secondary position in pakistan, shalwar kameez is considered old fashioned, kola puris are nowhere to be seen, sherwaanis sirf shadion mein nazar aati hain .. I believe we are missing a lot of Classic Elements in our society these days. If urdu is spoken correctly, its a beautiful language. I am afraid but some of my friends (mostly from the convents) speak toothi poothi Urdu and actually feel proud about it. I wore shalwar kameez with a musafa & my kaam huee wi chappal, and people looked at me like I was an alien. So its just not Urdu which is being let down, its basically our whole culture, which I still feel proud about.
    I haven’t heard anyone say Adaab to me in a long long time. What’s wrong with Adaab, As Salam, Shukriya, Maaf kijiye ga etc etc.. They are as good as Hello, Thank you and I am sorry.

    As for the small centers, I know a few teachers who try to make accents but fail miserably. Some teachers even have English names for their profession.

    English is an important language, but so is Mandarin these days. Spanish is widely spoken. To all those saying that China achieved a lot just because they stuck to their own language, many experts believe that china could have achieved a whole lot more if they were proficient in English.

    2) Knowledge of English doesn’t appear to give any major advantage to Pakistani students – in any top American university for every one Pakistani there are maybe 50 Chinese students with weak English, but they get admission and get the best grades.
    Bhai, first give your source of this information. Secondly, a lot of Chinese students first spend 4-8 months in the US only studying English. At least for Pakistanis, they save all that time (1-2 semesters).
    English is an important language, but all those who degrade Urdu and the whole Shaairana Culture associated with it, the ghazals, the sherwanis, kurtas.. stop pretending to be cool you morons. lol

    I would wear a tailor-made Shalwar Kameez then be in a tight looking fake Diesel shirt, jiss mein say meri tond bahar aa rahi ho.

  21. talal (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 3:10 am

    sufi.. .. nice account on culture/language. I think urdu is a very beautiful language, both in speaking and writing. Today we hardly speak proper urdu in our daily lives. Its slang that we speak. It is also true for english, be it either pakistan or england, english has taken a different direction from what it was used to be.

    The other day while conversing with my english friend, here in england, i used an idiom “there is no use of crying over the spilt milk” and he was quiet surprised on hearing that. He told me that we hardly use that sort of english in our daily lives. :) He was astonished coming that from a pakistani.

    For those who dont realize the importance of your local language, I would suggest them to live in a foreign land and speak their languge every day for atleast a few months than they will understand ke apni zuban kitni bari naimat hai. I miss speaking urdu… :(

  22. wasiq (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 3:47 am

    kya sirf apna hee sabaq perrha tey raho gay kuch unn ki bhi toh sunnao…….

    OMG!is that uniform still IN….i almost forgot it…!lolx :-p

  23. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 11:03 am

    Yeah, I would also second Sufi’s comments regarding Chinese students spending a good couple if not a whole year in Western countries for learning the English Language before progressing onto their respective degree courses.

    Disclaimer: I have spent a good deal of time in Aussieland so can personally vouch for the above-mentioned statement.

  24. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 11:11 am

    Correction: …..a good couple of months……

  25. king_faisal (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

    just because goras can speak one zubaan does not mean that other races are bound by the same restriction. most pakistanis i know can speak two or even three languages comfortably.

    as far as education goes, here is how to resolve the language conundrum:

    teach science and math in english along with english language which is needed to communicate with rest of the world.

    teach all other subjects in urdu including literature. also teach arabic so that pakistanis can understand quran as well as communicate with our muslim neighbours.

    real issue with regards to education is to improve the quality of education provided to kids especially in public schools. when teachers are crap, quality of students is not going to be much better no matter what the language. unfortunately we pakistanis dont give any attention to this very important issue and instead waste our time debating issues resolved since independence. no matter how much we wish otherwise, english will continue to enjoy an important status in the medium term because english enables us to get jobs abroad. tomorrow if salaries in china are 5x the salary in the u.s, chinese will become the language of choice.

    in the end marketplace will ditermine this issue.

  26. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 10:42 pm

    Urdu as Official language:


    seems someone from Govt has recently visited this particular thread.

  27. BoZz (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 2:26 am

    @Adnan – Interesting to read th article. Trust Pakis to do something radical such as this.

    For those who have not heard, a few months ago, during an EU conference, the head of the French businessmen delegation decided to to address the EU parliament in English and not French breaking a norm.

    Hearing him speak in English, the president of France, M. Chirac, staged a symbolic walkout in protest.

    Nevertheless, the head of the French businessmen refused to change his mind stating that English was now the official language of business and of the world in large and not French.

    Guess when even the French are doing that, it is time that we should be turning back to Urdu to save our grace. Complete that with riding camels and we may yet have our glorious past back once again.

  28. nocturnal (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 10:46 am

    @ cyril-the SQUIRREL

    You know what! we need PIED PIPER to drive out all the RODENTS from our country.

    But wait! should he WEAR UNIFORM , i think he should be a civilian else you wont get lured with his song that means you wont follow him. HAHAHAHAHA

    Am I right cyril-the squirrel.

  29. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 11:14 am

    Bozz baat shumal ki horahe hey aur tum junoob ka hank rahay ho. phew

  30. BoZz (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

    @Adnan – My blog was in English. I am sorry if you could not differentiate between East or West or was it North or South….!

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