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It is a fact that Britain has been a country that had colonized many parts of the world, and the inhabitants of the present USA were actually British. These factors led to English becoming the global language that it is, today.

Language is an invention, quite possibly the most dynamic of things created by humankind because it encompasses all. Feeling a certain feeling, and then having the privilege of expressing it is something we all take for granted, but shouldn’t because it is the one thing every person that has ever lived has contributed to. Be it by adding new words into the language, passing it down generations, or simply by conversing and keeping the language alive.

Today’s world is one where there are no borders, anything and everything is accessible to those who want it. Such times call for a unifying method communication, and for better or for worse, English has emerged as that binding force. It is one language that is almost universally accepted and is spoken more than any other language in the world. A person from India and a person from Japan don’t have to learn both the languages (and that of any other area the other person is from) rather, everyone speaks English.

However, in recent times, English has unwittingly become a symbol of how ‘educated’ or ‘learned’ a person is. People tend to not pay heed to what a person is saying if it’s in a local dialect.

In institutional spaces, too, people tend to listen to just about anything, provided it is accompanied by good oratory skills and, of course, English. There is a sort of separation between those who are familiar with the language and those who are not.

As a result, many people who may know the science of things, get discouraged and their genius remains undiscovered. They will refrain from raising up their hands and talking about issues that concern them due to this unsaid barrier.

When English gives us a common identity, it can also rob us of our basic one. Due to the glamorization of English, we are not getting familiar with our respective dialects and feel a sense of shame in using it to converse.

What can be done in the world which has turned into a ‘global village’ is that we may embrace English, but also not forget to water our heritage and never to undermine those who don’t speak it.

 

Feature Image Credits: Plato-Edu

Maumil Mehraj

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A language quite foreign to us has turned out to be the one that we use to communicate with all kinds of people in the present times. Our past provides reasons for it. But is its acceptance a genuine reality?

It is a fact, well acknowledged by all of us Indians that English is a language that has helped us to establish a facilitating link with people living across the country. No matter how much we criticise the penetration of the language in all parts of the country or the effect it has had on us, we still do acknowledge the basic fact that it bridges the gap between a Kashmiri and a Keralite, or a North Indian and a Northeasterner.

The dynamics involved here are simple – we were under the rule of the British for more than 200 years and they put their heart and soul into gaining power over us. With the arrival of the East India Company in 1600, something that no one ever thought about, came true. A country bound together in a unified umbrella despite the different cultural boundaries was under scrutiny. Lord Macaulay observed, realised, and capitalised this. He knew that to divide this country, no wars and weapon could help. And instead what needed to be targeted was language. We were robbed of our own identity and culture, taught by force, a language we did not need to know. That was the beginning of an epic fall. The point remains, could we really control this violation?

In his essay titled ‘Commonwealth Literature’ Does Not Exist, Salman Rushdie writes ‘what seems to me to be happening is that those peoples who were once colonized by the language are now rapidly remaking it, domesticating it, becoming more and more relaxed about the way they use it – assisted by the English language’s enormous flexibility and size, they are carving out large territories for themselves within its frontiers’.Later in the essay, Rushdie says that English was a gift given to us by the British.

Why is it so hard to accept then? It is the third most spoken language in the world after all.

English is a language of the British that has been derived from Latin, Greek, French and some other old languages. It’s a newly developed language that has gained acceptance widely in a very short period of time. Of course, there are countries that condemn and despise the language, but not all of them have been colonies of the Englishmen. The reason why India has welcomed the language in its realm with open arms roots out to the phenomenon that its citizens were coerced to. It is only natural to expect such an outcome. Moreover, since it is a relatively new language, it allows flexibilities that other languages don’t.

The cynicism and negative feelings surrounding the language and its widespread compliance in the geography stand in question now. Because of the rhetoric that arises immediately -what even is there to question? The key to tackle the situation now is to simply accept. Questioning the intrusion of a foreign language in our system is only going to lead to further questions, with no solutions whatsoever. Let us all accept, and live.

 

Feature Image Credits- Google Sites

Akshada Shrotryia
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It has been speculated that Chetan Bhagat’s bestselling book, ‘Five Point Someone’ has been included in the DU syllabus for those students who choose English as their Generic Elective in their 3rd semester, which will commence in July 2017. The book will be taught as a part of the ‘popular fiction’ paper under the Choice Based Credit System.

The proposed modified syllabus has been forwarded to the English department heads of all DU colleges for feedback. Recommendations will then be submitted to the Academic Council and Executive Council for approval. If this proposal is approved, by July, students with English as their Generic Elective will be able to study J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women along with Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. This course will only be available to Honours and Programme students in their second year, hence students from any stream who want to choose English as their elective subject will be able to study this paper. However, students pursuing English Honours will not be offered this paper and will continue studying Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, and other such books that, in Chetan Bhagat’s words, ‘Elitistaan’ approves of.

The reaction towards Chetan Bhagat’s inclusion in DU’s English syllabus has been mixed across the student community. However, most of the students and faculty members feel that the inclusion of Bhagat’s book with the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Agatha Christie, and J.K. Rowling is rather bizarre. Chetan Bhagat reacted to this move on Twitter and said: “Am honoured DU added my book to their course. Literature is about being open minded and reading the classics as well as the contemporary”. He then went on to comment on the criticism this move has received by stating, “To me, good literature is writing that actually touches people, whether in the past or now. It isn’t something an Elitist Club decides”.

 

Feature Image Credits: Sadda Haq

Joyee Bhattacharya
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As exams approach, students are often unable to find the right websites to help them prepare. Do not rely on cheap guides or inadequately explained answers on websites and start scrolling through these sites to get information about not just the author but detailed analysis of the theme, the characters, critical essays to support your analysis and also the text that you may need to read for free.

 

  • LitCharts

Brought to you by the makers of Sparknotes, the sites hosts material for a large number of books. It is divided into sections of themes, basic summary, elaborated summary along with character sketch that you all can refer to along with a theme tracking feature, timelines for characters and symbols.

 

  • Jstor

Lacking critical material for your answers? Jstor is there to help you out with its digital library that contains books, primary sources along with journals. While subscription is necessary in most cases, it does allow you to add up to 3 books/journals in your shelf if you sign up (which is free).

 

  • Project Gutenberg

Founded by Micheal S. Hart, Project Gutenberg is the oldest digital library that holds full texts of public domain books that you can view in different formats. Go here to read any of Behn’s play or Donne’s poetry. It is free and legal.

 

  • Infoplease

Often to understand the text and certain cultural bound situations, you need information on the socio political scenario of the era when the author wrote along with aspects of the author’s life as well to learn about the development of the plot. On infoplease, you can find factual information about any author, any play and any century that you wish to know of.

 

5) Shakespeare.mit.edu

This electronic source brings to you the complete collection of Shakespeare’s play and poetry that can be accessed for free.

  • YouTube

    YouTube since a few years has been emerging as a great source of information for literature students with channels like Crash Course (where John Green teaches you about Romeo and Juliet , Beloved, The Catcher in the Rye etc), Yale Courses (where along with being taught by Yale professors, you also get a glimpse into the classroom if an ivy league university) and Thug Notes (where modern day slangs meet simple summary and analysis of the text).

 
Adarsh Yadav
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Every student who is applying for studies abroad knows about IELTS and TOEFL. For those who don’t, here is a quick introduction: International English Language Test System commonly called IELTS and the Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL are the two tests one sits for before applying to a foreign university. The scores one receives from the tests are also a criterion for admissions to courses and award of scholarships.

Consisting of four parts that test your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills, these tests are intended to quantify one’s hold on the language, since it shall be the primary medium of communication when studying abroad.

Ideally, preparation for these tests should start at least a few months before the date of the examination. But often, in the midst of collecting certificates, letters of recommendation, filling application forms, etching that perfect Statement of Purpose, one often forgets the monumental role that these test scores play. Thus, one is headed to prepare for these tests usually in a matter of three weeks and that could be really difficult. What everyone advises is to study hard for it as soon as you book one. Well, we all know how well that gets executed.

So here are some quick tips for you to prepare for IELTS/TOEFL without solely studying from practice papers, although their significance is irrefutable too.

1. Read non-fiction

The passages in the reading part of the tests are usually non-fiction with a lot of facts and the like, so inculcating a habit of reading the non-fiction articles in newspapers could reap you benefits.

2. Watch TED Talks

Do what you do right now, switch on the WiFi and start playing videos. The only difference is in the videos you play. The listening modules in the tests are narrated by people with different accents, so this is just as helpful as the next option we’re recommending.

3. Listen to Audio Books

This is a great way to use your commuting time, to rest your eyes and yet be able to read. Put your earphones on and do something productive.

4. Use cue-cards/flashcards

Make some cards with words on them, and carry them around. Reading some words again and again will fix them in your memory. This is the foolproof method of acquiring a rich vocabulary.

5. Form an opinion about everything

This is much more fun than it sounds. Be aware about what’s happening around you and form an opinion about it. This helps to straighten out your thoughts and de-clutter your mind.

6. Back to the basics

In the speaking test, fluency is rewarded more than an embellished vocabulary. So while you can use gigantic words, make sure you hold them in the right place, with the right pace.

7. Word Power made easy

Norman Lewis has brought this book to solve all problems. If you’re genuinely interested in learning about this language, this is what you should read and devour.

8. Watch Movies

If watching TED talks is difficult at first, start with watching movies with the subtitles off.

9. Write like a columnist

Try to pen down your thoughts every day. And when you set out to write something, write as if it is going to be read by a million people. That will make you aware of what you write. If you enjoy this, you may consider starting a blog.

Featured Image Credits: grockit.com

Kritika Narula

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th semester, in which 57 students failed sociology out of a total of 60 in Shivaji College. Not just in Shivaji, many off campus colleges such as Keshav Mahavidyala, Rajdhani College and Lakshmi Bai College have reported a similar result. 102 students out of 120 in Lakshmi Bai College and 20 out of 25 students in Keshav Mahavidlaya failed Sociology, all of whom had opted for it as their interdisciplinary course or CDC. This result from the University is being claimed to be erroneous, which will affect the aggregate of the final year students, who want to pursue higher studies after graduation, adversely. But as much as a shock it was for the students, they have decided to call for action and not helplessly accept a glitch in their results. As a result, there was a mass protest outside the office of the Dean,  Students’ Welfare, Professor J.M. Khurana on Monday, the 29th of June. It started at 9 in the morning and went on till at noon, when a few student delegates were called inside. A student delegate from Shivaji College, Bismee, said, “This result is a reckless mistake from the University and we only want the marks that we truly deserve in the subject. We have filed a written petition with the Dean’s office to revise our results and give us an answer at the earliest.” When asked about the behaviour of the authorities towards the issue, another student, Mitali told us that they were “indifferent” towards their plight. So far there has only been a bleak response, though it has not dampened the spirits of the protesters and there will be protests everyday till a clear decision has been reached. Bismee, one of the organisers of the protest, told DU Beat that he met the Dean of Students’ Welfare, who assured appropriate action over the issue. The students representatives are expected to meet the Dean again tomorrow. A major cause of such protest and unrest among students is that many of the affected students plan on getting a higher education, and such low marks are harmful for their aggregate score of all semesters. Ironically, students who have Sociology as their major have been marked well, and so it appears that a careless approach has been adopted for the students who opted for Sociology as their interdisciplinary course. Further, all the affected students have so far scored well in other subjects and have had 60% and above aggregate in all the preceding semesters. This fact has also fueled the rage around the University’s result and shocked many.   Image credits: Bismee Taskin Islam]]>

On March 10, 2014, the English department of Hansraj College hosted its annual fest that saw a coming together of informative lectures, seminars, theatre, and a pinch of literary games to add to the fun.

The first session of the day was a session by internationally acclaimed film maker Pankaj Butalia titled: Reading Cinema- The importance of beginnings. The talk discussed the turmoil of the film maker as he/she deals with his/her own set of confusions as to how to project the desired emotion on screen. He also discussed the importance of the beginning scenes and the precedence it sets and how we can read them through processing a range of visual representations and metaphors.

The “Book n bake” sale attracted a large audience and was received well. Prior to the fest, students and teachers were asked to donate books for the sale and an impressive collection was accumulated at the end of it. The books were available at cheap rates were quickly sold out. The sale of cupcakes and other confectioneries right next to the book sale added a sweet tooth to the book shopping.

The second lecture was by Sambudha Sen titled- Domesticity and the making of the female subject: From Dutch interior paintings to Jane Austen. He discussed important painters like Peter de Hooch and Vermeer who were painting in the 1th and 17th centuries that how and from when does the domestic as a sphere for women emerge as an entity. He later discussed at length about Fanny, the protagonist of “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen in comparison to other texts that dealt with issues of sexual liberation, autonomy and domesticity.

Activities such as general quiz, literary dumb charades, and character dramatization were a fun ride and attracted quite an audience. The concluding event of the day was a stage play called “Room for doubt” by “The Players”, the dramatic society of Kirori Mal College.

Here’s how the newly-introduced Four Year Undergraduate Programme is going to affect the students aspiring to study English literature and the course itself, at the University of Delhi:

Topics changed or added or removed
The number of papers for English Honours has been reduced from 23 to 20 that are included in the Discipline Courses1 (DC1). Choosing Popular Fiction or European Realism, Literary Theory or Modern European Drama has been done away with, and for good, since now the students have the opportunity to study varied literature. Choicelessness is definitely bliss here, especially for students who hope to study more and more literature.

Enriching or diluting?
With the addition of new material the course has definitely been enriched. There is a wider range in terms of the DC1 syllabus now.

Structure
The semester system will not be affected due to FYUP. Two semesters annually, much like the three-year system, with the addition of another year and two more semesters. In English, syllabus has been shuffled, new topics added and existing syllabus has been clubbed together.

More practical or theoretical now?
Through the Applied Courses, there is scope for a more practical knowledge rather than the theoretical study of DC1 and DC2. Class presentations and discussions, if conducted properly, regularly and for everybody, will surely help the students in fields outside the theoretical realm of the course that is English Honours.

Affect on students
Covering all the topics within the stipulated time might turn out to be a Herculean task, leaving behind only those students who can handle the pressure and time crunch.

Exit points
The option of leaving the course after two years will produce a large number of students who will not have a proper degree or qualification in terms of employability. It cannot be determined whether a person who has studied English literature for only two years might be able to land up a good job; the chances do not seem very appealing.

Employability
Expansion of the course will definitely be able to help students of English in gaining better jobs, provided that the student covers all four years of the course.

Final verdict
FYUP has taken the University with a storm, and the results can be determined only after four years have passed. Although it is felt that more time and discussions should have been spent on the Programme, many feel that FYUP is good for the students. The development of the syllabus has been done within few weeks, with not enough consideration given to how the colleges are going to manage faculty, time and space. Since this is how the system going to be now, we hope it turns out for the best.

(For analysis of other courses click here)

The English department of DU has recently been ranked among the top 100 places to study english, by the QS World University Rankings. Ranked in the 51-100 group in QS’s annual survey, DU happens to be in the same league as Durham University, Dartmouth University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Sussex and the like, having beaten the likes of Nottingham and Purdue.

The English departments of three other Indian Universities, namely JNU, University of Calcutta and University of Hyderabad, also made the list, but, unlike DU, they were ranked in the 151-200 rank group. Other institutions of higher education seem to have failed to make a mark and were missing from the top 200 in overall university rankings. the QS World University Rankings is one of the three most influential and widely recognized international university rankings, apart from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

MA students are thrilled and have been glowing with pride over the news. “It is definitely a high for us students, also considering that no other Indian institute features that high in the list. Our department professors truly deserve the credit for this, specially for their research inputs.” says Kritika Mathur, a student pursuing her masters in english at DU.

 

Graphic credits: Sahil Jain

The English department of DU has recently been ranked among the top 100 places to study english, by the QS World University Rankings. Ranked in the 51-100 group in QS’s annual survey, DU happens to be in the same league as Durham University, Dartmouth University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Sussex and the like, having beaten the likes of Nottingham and Purdue.

The English departments of three other Indian Universities, namely JNU, University of Calcutta and University of Hyderabad, also made the list, but, unlike DU, they were ranked in the 151-200 rank group. Other institutions of higher education seem to have failed to make a mark and were missing from the top 200 in overall university rankings. the QS World University Rankings is one of the three most influential and widely recognized international university rankings, apart from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

MA students are thrilled and have been glowing with pride over the news. “It is definitely a high for us students, also considering that no other Indian institute features that high in the list. Our department professors truly deserve the credit for this, specially for their research inputs.” says Kritika Mathur, a student pursuing her masters in english at DU.   Graphic credits: Sahil Jain]]>