Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Wednesday, February 23, 2006

Excusé moi Monsieur, Mademoiselle!

by Shamma M. Raghib & Zeeshan B Rahman

It's the month of February again, a time that never fails to remind us of the great sacrifices our forefathers had made to protect our mother tongue. It is for the blood spilled by our valiant soldiers (bhasha shoiniks), that we now talk, read and write in Bangla. In recognition to the sacrifice previously made, 21 February is internationally accepted as International Mother Language Day. It makes us all feel proud of the fact that this day, although celebrating the mother tongues of all the people of the world, is mainly a tribute paid to that sacrifice and our language. Here at the RS, we believe that paying tribute to our mother language only on one special day every year is not enough; we all should try to the best of our ability to enrich and signify its status in our everyday life. Learning a foreign language not only helps you do that, but also gives you a vital edge in your career path. So, enroll into a new language institute to learn Russian, or amaze your German friends by learning the German language! Better yet, dare to master the classy French language, which some Canadians consider their prime mode of communiqué. Here are the details of some institutes that offer foreign language courses.

Institute of Modern Languages, Dhaka University
Established in 1974, the Institute of Modern Languages is one of the oldest and most reputed foreign language learning institutes of the country. The institute currently offers four levels of courses (junior, senior, diploma and higher diploma) in 13 languages (Bangla, English, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, French, German, Spanish & Italian).

All the courses are one year long. Anyone having passed his/her HSC/A Level exams can get admitted in the junior course for any language except Bangla (applicable only to people whose mother language is not Bangla) and English (applicable only to the students of DU). One can apply for admission in the senior course only after passing the junior course and thus apply for the diploma course after the senior course and the higher diploma course after the diploma course. The institute publishes its circular in major dailies and starts selling forms around April-May every year. The forms can be bought for about 200 takas from the DU registrar office. The course fee is 2000 takas, although there is a concession for students of DU. The teaching staff here comprises of DU teachers as well as guest speakers from various countries. The institute is an ideal place for people who want to learn foreign languages at a very reasonable fee. Oh, and for those of you who don't know, the institute is located to the northwest of the Teacher-Student Center at DU.

Alliance Française de Dacca: Situated in 26, Mirpur Road, Dhanmondi, this institute offers three types of French courses- extensive course, intensive course and super intensive course. The extensive course is 44 hours course per session, while the intensive is 88 hours. For those who would like to learn this language quickly or study at French Universities abroad, they might try out for the super-intensive courses.

Apart from the above-mentioned course, there are separate courses for kids, businessmen, and courses on spoken French, grammar and pronunciation classes for those who would like to refurbish their skills. For admission, please contact Alliance Française de Dacca at the above-mentioned address. Contact number- 8611557 or 9675249 for information on the course fees.

Russian Cultural Center: A popular concert venue, the Russian Cultural Center also has language learning facility. Situated at house # 510, Road #7, Dhanmondi, to learn the language of Alexander Pushkin, the course fee is Tk 2500 for three-months duration. This correspondent has information that the courses are taught every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, but to be sure, please contact the Center at: 9116312, 9118531 and 9117639. At this point, a little sideline information is that the institute also has a full swing Piano lesson going on. It also has a scholarship scheme for students, who have already learned the Russian language.

Goethe Institute: In the East European countries, German is a high demand language. For this reason and for finding jobs there, many people are learning the German language at this institution. Situated opposite to Dhanmondi Cricket field at Road number 8, it offers various cultural shows and German language courses taught by efficient faculty. However, the correspondent could not give further details, since the receptionist was not there during the time of interview.

The British Council
It seems that in our desperate attempt to keep up with the almost-impossible-to-reach deadline, we almost forgot the most important foreign language we have to learn English. The British Council offers the best quality communicative English learning courses for various people. Currently, there are four courses available at the British Council General English, Business English, English Courses for SSC Students and Children's English. All the courses are eight weeks long and have one or two classes per week. Although the course fees are comparatively high at 10500 takas (plus 500 takas for the placement test fee), there are no doubts about the quality of the teaching staff and the courses. Those of you who feel the need to improve your communicative English skills can contact this institute at 8618905-7 and 8618867-8 for further information.

Before ending it here, we want all of you to know that learning a new language, besides Bangla is a thrilling experience, and once mastered it can serve as a good purpose later on. Having a French, German or Russian language certificate may open up pathways for you to get scholarships, jobs and an exciting job as an interpreter. Who knows? Maybe one day, we might see you beside the French President or the Russian congressmen! Till then, ciao!


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