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By Way2k Way2k
Way2k 6 Oct 2012
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Enhancing language course
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The race for Delhi University undergraduate admissions has started with a huge number of applications. Though most students want to join popular courses like B.Com, B.Sc, economics, English and psychology, there are other options that students can explore as well. At a time when the world is getting smaller and diversity is becoming an important component of the 21 century, employment opportunities in this area are increasing too. In fact, with an increasing demand for various languages in a global world, there are many takers for honours courses in languages.

Enhancing language course

The university, apart from English and Hindi, offers full-time UG programmes in a number of languages, which include German, French, Spanish, Italian, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit and Punjabi. The department of Germanic and Romance studies, DU, offers a Bachelor's programme in European languages, while individual colleges offer B.A (H) in Sanskrit, Punjabi, Persian and Arabic. According to Kusum Agarwal, head, department of Germanic and Romance studies, several students apply to B.A (H) courses in German, French, Italian and Spanish, every year. Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of takers for German and French, with growing applicants for Spanish and Italian as well.

The department also offers part-time courses in Portuguese and Romanian. "These languages have a reputation and in today's global world, there is a demand for these in the market. With international trade, the hotel industry, tourism, and new media, a Bachelor's degree in any of the languages is a relevant academic and future career option," she says. Students opting for the programme get to study contemporary global culture, the interface of literature, art and the new media. Also, they are exposed to the cultural encounter between India and Europe, postcolonial writing in Europe and the erstwhile colonial world, translation (in particular literary translation), etc.

Besides, students have to study a set of concurrent papers like English, history, etc. Further, she explains, "The usefulness of understanding a language in terms of reading, writing and speaking, varies for each student. For example, a management student who also opts for a course in a language has an edge over other management students. This is because when he or she applies to study in a country and is familiar with the language, it is easier to adapt and avail of the different scholarships." Students have many contemporary career options in the areas of translation, writing, teaching, etc, adds Agarwal.

Admission to the B.A (H) programme in all the four European languages is through an entrance test. The test involves a student's ability to understand logic, grapple with ideas, essay writing, general knowledge and general awareness of world affairs. Of late, there has been growing enthusiasm among students to study Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian. However, students enrolling in BA (H) Sanskrit from this session onwards will be introduced to a revised curriculum with a number of new papers added to the course. Students opting for Sanskrit will now have mathematics, aesthetics, philosophy of language and nomenclature as the new papers in their syllabus under the semester mode.

"Against general conception, Sanskrit is a job-oriented language. It continues to be widely used as a successful language in computers. There is a demand for professionals knowing the language in the West. This is due to the popularity of yoga and ancient Indian medicine, prescribed in scriptures like Charaka Samhita, which are now finding relevance in the foreign world. Over the past few years, many MNCs have offered good profiles and packages to Sanskrit graduates during campus placements," says Pankaj Mishra, faculty, department of Sanskrit, St Stephen's College. However, B.A (H) courses in Persian and Arabic are offered only in Zakir Husain College.

According to M Aslam Parvaiz, principal, Zakir Husain College, both the languages have a good number of takers. However, the response in Arabic is much more than in Persian, since there are about 53 Arab-speaking countries in the world, while Persian is only limited to Iran. "We receive about 300-400 applications in all for the languages every year. The course content includes study of literature, grammar, contemporary issues, poetry, drama, etc. Many students want to study Arabic so that they can have direct access to original scriptures, which were written in Arabic," says Parvaiz. A number of avenues have opened up as a result of increasing trade with the Gulf countries. Students can opt for higher studies or work as interpreters, teachers in Gulf countries, as news readers, with the All India radio, etc. C

Career Opportunities
Conventional: Teaching - At school and college level Translators / interpreters

Contemporary: Literary translation - Converting already published popular as well as upcoming books of one language to another and vice-versa Fashion houses - Professionals well-versed in a language are required to deal with the merchandise trade New media / radio - Language experts are in demand to work in these mediums including online trade Hotel / tourism industry - The industry offers lucrative options with expanding business throughout the world BPOs - Have a high demand for language professionals.


Courtesy: Times of India

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