How do you learn Bengali?

One of the more surprising things Son1 said recently, even more so than “but why can’t we go to McDonalds for Mother’s Day”, was “how do you learn Bengali?”

For now I’ve leant him my copy of William Radice’s Teach Yourself Bengali as a stop gap measure while I work out a) whether he really does want to learn and b) how I’ll go about it this time.

As with my own Bengali we’ve tended to have peaks and troughs in his learning of the language and recently it’s been less on my mind than in the past.

But perhaps now’s the time to capitalise on this sudden interest, helped by a school project on India perhaps but also maybe a growing realisation of who he is.

The question remains, however, what is the best way to teach children a second language?

At least with an adult you could refer them to  Teach Yourself Bengali, tell them to watch a few Satyajit Ray films, maybe tune in to the Asian Network’s Weekend Bengali programme and download some Bengali podcasts.

I suspect with a child it’s going to take a bit more thought.

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8 responses to “How do you learn Bengali?

  1. Children have the tendency to pick things up quicker so you could be surprised on the app store there are lots of language rescources aimed at kids you could be lucky a word a day also could be the way to go its not too taxing on the little brains (or on the big brains like mine that can only grasp A word a day and even at that it’s tricky! Am slowly teaching myself Hindi with minimum success)

    • tangleofwires

      Good idea, thanks!

      Son1 does like playing with my phone so maybe that’s the way to go.

      Best of luck with Hindi (learning that language is on my to-do list, but I’ve not started yet, unless watching Bollywood films counts).

  2. We taught our kids French! In brief:

    What Didn’t Work (at all)
    Us speaking French to them
    Classes (unless enrolled in a FULLY bilingual school)
    Au Pairs
    Books

    WHAT DID
    Cartoons
    (Started with MUZZY, then got Asterix, Dragonball, etc. etc. We stopped cable and only had French videos during the week.)
    Went to France for a year

    • tangleofwires

      Thanks Daisy. Sadly going to Kolkata for a year is not an option, but searching out more cartoons in Bengali may well win my kids over.

  3. Pingback: আলী বাবা চল্লীশ চোর – or, using cartoons to teach the kids Bengali | A Tangle Of Wires

  4. Pingback: Slowly the kids are learning Bengali | A Tangle Of Wires

  5. I have found very good youtube channel in Bengali that is angelkids they have plenty of Bengali cartoons , I use them to teach my Students.

  6. @TalkingBees Thanks! http://www.youtube.com/user/angelkids looks very interesting.

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