Anushree Jain feels that multilingual broadcasters such as SBS Radio should be thanked for their contribution to promotion of Hindi language in Australia.
Today, people from more than 100 countries call Australia home.
Their mother-tongue or language is a key marker of membership into a multicultural Australian society.
The following data derived from the 2011 Census:
- Collectively, Australians speak over 200 languages.
- About 18% of Australians speak a language other than English.
- The most common languages other than English are: Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Hindi.
Australian government considers linguistic diversity as an asset.
This makes Australia not only vibrantly multicultural but also more competitive in trade.
Although, a majority of Indian-Australians speak English as a first language, a significant number of new migrants wish that their children speak languages other than English.
Indian community in Australia has been actively transferring its core cultural values and beliefs through language learning, especially Hindi.
Hindi belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family and is considered a language that unifies multilingual India.
Hindi has many varieties in India: High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, Literary Hindi, standard Hindi, state-wise Hindi, and Bambiya Hindi (Bollywood).
Anushree Jain works as a Hindi Primary Teacher, Hindi Interpreter and Translator in Australia.
She is also a well-known Sitar player and from 1992-1993 taught this instrument at University of Melbourne’s Department of Education.
She is currently employed at the Royal Women's Hospital.
In India, Anushree obtained her Master's Degree in Indian Instrumental Music from Delhi University.
Anushree arrived in Australia in 1989 with her husband and two children.
In 1995, she got Hindi Interpreter and Translator accreditation from NATTI.
And in 1999, Anushree became a Victorian School of Languages (VSL) Hindi primary teacher at the Blackburn centre.
She has also taught Hindi at VSL Glen Waverley centre for 4 years.
For almost 17 years, she has been contributing to promote Hindi among Australians, especially Indian-Australian community.
She has also published two Hindi textbooks for primary levels – 'मैं और मेरा संसार' and 'प्राथमिक हिंदी स्तर -२'.
In addition, Anushree also wrote two chapters in the VCE Hindi text book called – ‘हिन्दी नक्षत्र’.
Anushree says there is dearth of resources – books, periodicals and videos in Hindi at Australian public libraries.
But today, parents struggling to teach their children Hindi can look for online videos on Youtube and other free websites.
SBS and Community Languages Australia have created a National Languages Competition to encourage more young Australians to learn another language (http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/hindi/en/content/sbs-national-languages-competition).
Community Languages Australia, or CLA, is a body representing over 1000 language schools.
The competition invites students as young as four through to Year 12 to express what learning a language mean to them.
The youngest students are asked to draw a picture while primary and high school participants are to submit a written response in a second language.
Anushree feels that such competitions are the need of time to engage young students and their parents.
In addition, she says that multilingual broadcasters such as SBS Radio should be thanked for their contribution to promotion of Hindi language in Australia.
To know more about the status and progress of Hindi in Australia, listen to Amit Sarwal’s conversation with Melbourne-based Hindi teacher and author Anushree Jain.