Acquisition Of English As A Second Language By Manipuris
By Sanasam Pratibimba
It has been said that the relation with British established by Maharaja Gambhir Sing & Narsingh to drive away the Burmese from Manipur in the 18th century sowed the seeds of English as a second language of the Manipuris. Following a chequered history, the British rule began in 1891, but before that in the year 1885 the year in which the Indian National Congress was founded, Johnstone school was established in Imphal. The formal teaching of English as a second language thus began with its establishment. Then, schools at Mao Thana, Singjamei, Tera & Ukhrul were established.
Manipuris are quick learners. They learn English quickly. Eminent persons conversant in English came up to fill up the posts of government because of their accurate knowledge of English. Eminent journalists writing in English were born, but it is unfortunate that there are no Manipuri newsreader of English in the National Television. Schools run by Christians missionaries soon taught English to a great number of students. Poets came up, writing in English too. Manipuris are not lacking far behind in terms of producing English writers. There are eminent professors of English.
English institutes and spoken English Institutes have come up in in different parts of Manipur. Still, there is a lot to be done. Keeping this aim in view, the Govt, has encouraged the learning of English as a second language. The Board of Secondary Education Manipur and the Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur have introduced great literatures of the world to the young students to open their interest in the rich storehouse of classic literature.
Manipur University has been producing many post graduates and graduates of English annually. The vast number of English students will contribute their mite in shaping the future of the Society. Their knowledge and skill will ensure a fair deal of Manipur in the national perspective of English Education.
The Peculiar difference in the structure of English and Manipuri render new learners of English with an obstacle. The influence of the Manipur Grammatical structure cause errors in composing English sentences. But if a student masters it i.e., the structural difference between Manipuris and English, he/she is at ease in composing English sentences. The missionary educated students are not susceptible to this problem as they learn English by habits. There is no translation in them. They acquire English as a second language by habit and practice.
State level competitions of English are held for the High School students by certain voluntary organisations, which is a very commendable task. It is the co¬operation of the public, parents and guardians which has made these competitions successful. In a few years, Manipur will see bright writers in English at the National and International level.
Programmes in English are broadcast by All India Radio Imphal every week in which talkers in English delivered talks with a good command and accent. Besides western Music Programmes anchored in English by Manipuris are broadcast daily. Hearing the good English of the programme presenter, it is well to conclude that English as a second language is excellently acquired by the Manipuris. There are also very good English News readers in the private local T.V. channels. Many lady announces and comperes in English are seen conducting state level programmes in a way not inferior to such thing in other states of India.
There are excellent column writers in English in the various local English newspapers. There are poets too, and good journalists on the national state media. There are also authors of books in English which sell in National Book fairs. Since the production of the first Manipuri Matriculate in the beginning of the century from Johnstone School, Manipur has come a long way. English as a second language is considerably acquired by Manipuris.
Some has distinguished themselves, yet there are others who find it hard to acquire English as a second language. It is due to many factors, among others a sense of alienity associated with English. A hater of the English man will find it hard to acquire English as a second language. Being friendly with the English and their culture, will encourage young students greatly to acquire English as a second language.
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