English-Language Learners

Know Any Children Studying Urdu? What About Gujarati?

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 29, 2009 1 min read

The U.S. Department of Education has given a three-year grant to the National Capital Language Resource Center to document and describe all programs in the United States teaching South Asian languages to schoolage children. The study is called DesiLearn and seeks information about community-based and heritage-language programs as well as school-based programs.

I’m getting a geography and culture lesson just trying to figure out where people originate from who speak some of the languages included in the study. The languages are: Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Panjabi, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

I hadn’t ever heard of six of the 13 South Asian languages named. I just learned, for example, that Kannada is spoken primarily in South India, and the Kannada script was standardized in the 19th century.

The press release for the study (it came out in August, but I just heard about it) says the information will help the South Asian language community to “marshal and strengthen existing resources” for language teaching.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.