Cognitive development via foreign language

Following links talk about the growing importance of foreign language
and its effect on brain development on children:

http://www.edutopia.org/foreign-language

Makar Sankranti: A Solar and Pastoral Festival of India

Sankranti (also called Pongal) is a Hindu festival celebrated in January and although there are twelve days associated with this, usually only three are celebrated. The last day is on January 14th and it is the biggest and most important. This is because the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. On this day, Indians worship the cattle (ormattu). The cattle are bathed, painted in bright colors with their horns polished and flower garlands hung around their necks.

The first and second day of Sankranti is celebrated with the exchange of gifts among the family,that remind Indians to be thankful. Prayers are offered to the Sun God for a good harvest. Sweet rice and rangoli are made throughout the festivities. Rangoli are geometric designs filled with rice or sand that is colored. These can be made on the wall or the floor but are usually created outside the houses. It is a very popular art form in India and is also called sand painting. Unmarried women paint these during the month of Maarkazhi when they pray in hopes of good fortune, like the Goddess Andal did, when she prayed to Lord Thirumal to marry her.

The celebration is sometimes called the “festival of flying kites”. During the third day the skies in India are brightly colored with kites. Hindu’s have fun “fighting” or “running” with ones made of special string. It is important for people in India to get out in the sun as the day marks the beginning of the harvest season and of warmer days.

Is it the Bride’s Wedding or the Groom’s? The Multi-Faceted Weddings of India

India is a country with a rich multicultural background. The country has possessed a very old civilization and one can find the followers of so many religions in this mysterious land. All the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and Muslims live together and their integration has formulated a common Indian culture that is clearly visible in their weddings, movies and other local events.

In India both bride and groom are treated specially but still there are plenty of things that differentiate between the weddings of one community from other. Hindus begin their celebrations much before the real event. There are lots of in-house gatherings in both the bride and groom homes where guest sings different songs. These get-together are known as the ‘Sangeet’. One major step of Hindu wedding ceremony is ‘Sapta-padi’, in which both the bride and groom take seven steps together around the fire. These seven steps represent seven different promises for their future life together.

The Muslim wedding ceremony contains practices that are subject to their traditions. ‘Nikah’ is the prime event of their wedding where both the bride and the groom accept the companionship of each other in front of two advocates and two witnesses. Their different pre and post wedding ceremonies include events of Mehndi, Manjha, Rukhsati, Valima and Chauthi.

Christians usually perform their weddings in the church, which is followed by a grand dinner. In comparison with Hindus and Muslims the wedding ceremonies of other sects are much simpler. Although, there is one common thing in all the occasions and that is role of the family. India is a country with strong family values and family system. In this part of the world, normally parents decide the life partner for their children known as an ‘arranged marriage’.

According to latest estimates there are around 80% Hindus, 13.5% Muslims, 2.5% Christians and 1.9% Sikhs in India. Wedding is a costly event. Weddings in this country can be organized in one hundred thousand rupees or even billions of rupees.

There are some activities in the Indian wedding, which are not common in other regions of the world such as use of a female horse for the groom, firecrackers and many other local traditions which are very interesting and unique.

Origin and Growth of the Hindi Language

Languages are the cornerstones of any thriving culture and the Hindi language is no different. Hindi happens to be the third most spoken language in the entire world, with an estimated 500 million speakers across the globe. Hindi belongs to the Indian culture and is commonly used all throughout South Asia.

This magnificent language stems from Hindustani, which was a type of language that was widely used in and around Delhi in the 9th and 10th centuries. It was later named Hindvi, meaning the language of Hind, which is the land of the Indus River. Much later on it was established as a national language, which it is known as today (Hindi and English are the two national languages of India as recognized by the Constitution). When the British came and ruled during the Colonial period, the British army actually used it to communicate with government officials.

In the 19th Century it changed from Hindvi, being split into both Hindi and Urdu. One comes from a Sanskrit background and the other comes from a Persian one. These two languages are still split to this day, with Hindi being spoken widely in India and Urdu being spoken in Pakistan. In fact, the two languages are very similar only largely differing in script, with Urdu more closely associated with Arabic. Thus, Hindi speakers trying to learn Urdu and vice versa don’t find the task too difficult, as many words are used interchangeably in the two languages; the hardest part comes to the script.

Hindi is not just a language but also a lens into Indian culture. Its soft-sounds define Indian poetry and really echo the country’s vibrant society. In the grand scheme of languages it is relatively young, mainly in terms of how old India really is. Many people are striving to learn Hindi language because India is growing more socially and politically powerful, and as it continues to grow into a global superpower role India will only continue to become a land of opportunity.

Parent comments!

Thank you for bringing India alive for my 5 year old and help my 12 year old get an outlet for his thirst for knowledge about India and all things Indian and all in a fun, entertaining environment. Thank you for showing my kids MY INDIA !
—- Vasudha

Usha’s Jano India camp is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about their India culture and heritage. The teachers are wonderful and make learning about India fun. We will definitely have our kids attend camps in future years. Many heartfelt thanks!
—Rahul

Our daughter really enjoyed attending Camp Jano India. Thank you so much for it. We also liked the camp.
—–Rakshit

Camp Jano India curriculum was very good for ous son. He learned a lot in just 5 days! What was impressive was that he learnd the national anthem by heart as well! Overall it exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds !
—–Raghu

My daughter Ayesha loved this camp! Very informative ! She learned a lot within 5 days. Its wonderful to be able to connect to your roots!
Great staff too.
——Pratima

This camp was a very motivation experience for my kids. They learned a lot and had fun ! They were excited to attend every day. We would enroll again!
——-Sonia

Our son liked the camp very much. He has started to talk in Hindi! He can even read a little Hindi!
—- Husnain

What the kids have to say!

I think the camp Jano India is awesome because we get to do lots of arts and crafts and learn Hindi in a creative way. But I think you should not make the slide shows so long. I think the recesses are AWESOME!
—Ayesha

I think this was a great camp. I think that this is the best week of the summer. I also made a lot of friends. I loved this camp.
—-Anushka

I like the camp because it was fun. When I am testing, it makes it fun!
Fun! I liked when we made foam puzzles.
—Shaarav

I think this camp is a very fun camp. You lean a new language and have lots of fun activities. I think this is a great camp! It is great!
— Neel

Camp Jano India is really really fun. We learned the national anthem and learned how to write in Hindi. We also did a lot of projects like cooking and making tie-dye shirts. I think this is a great camp.
—Swaraga Bharadwaj

I think this is a very fun camp, because we do lots of projects that include hindi lessons. I would recommend it to young hindi learners
—-Samir

Camp experience

Rheya had a wonderful time at the camp.

She looked forward to the camp everyday, learning new words in Hindi, singing Raghupati Raghav, discovering India and of course, playing with the other kids at camp!!

- Camp Parent

Adult enjoys Jano Hindi Classes

Having visited India on two separate occasions, I have a great fascination with this nation. As language may be considered the gateway to culture, I have embarked on a journey to learn Hindi in hope of gaining a deeper knowledge of this land.

As a fluent English and Chinese speaker, I am attuned to the generalities and intricacies within a language, whether in formal or colloquial, written or spoken form; they give insight into the people and the way they live and relate to one another.

My goals for learning Hindi is to communicate fluently with a native speaker, to build relationships with Indians, to read literature and current events, to watch Bollywood films without subtitles, to travel around India with comprehension of spoken and written Hindi, and to work alongside Indians on design projects.

Through the USHA course, my teacher Manju has led me through beginning Hindi with competence, patience, and diligence, and has also provided a plethora of audio/visual/web resources. We have discussed a variety of topics including food, holidays, music, poetry, history, and others sparked by the contents of each Hindi lesson. I have most enjoyed learning the beautiful script of the Devanagari alphabet, then assembling letters into words, and words into sentences.

Fluency in a language could very well be a lifelong endeavor. With the groundwork laid for me through this course, along with continual education, practice and consistency, I will continue to work toward this aspiration.
—Esther, Oakland, CA

Passionate child enjoyed his class

Thanks a lot Teacher Pallavi.
Aryan enjoyed taking Hindi Lesson last year and took it seriously. I hope his passion towards Hindi remains the same in coming years, thanks to teacher like you.
Thanks a lot and I hope we see you again next year. Your email wasn’t clear if you would be teaching them next year.
We really wish you would teach him Hindi next year too.

thanks
-Parent

Parent who had given up on Hindi!

Hi Pallavi,

Thanks so much! It’s amazing how Aryan is learning Hindi in the USA…. I almost had given up getting him to learn Hindi !!

Although he does not converse in Hindi yet, he knows the fundamentals…so I am hoping one trip to India and he will pick up Hindi in no time!!

Thanks so much for all your effort…. I can imagine how hard it must be to get them to learn a ‘foreign’ language…specially with so many letters!!

Next year, Aryan will continue so he can master this language! Thanks for all your contribution!

Take care,
-Parent