Monday, November 19, 2007

Learning Hindi and Fijian

from w
They've been talking about this for years, and in fact in many schools there have been classes in the two languages. Grade 5 and Form 3 apparently have been chosen as the period for specialist classes - for all children. Way to go!

However it is also necessary in the very early years of schooling that the children sing songs and learn some basics of 'other' languages because the earlier they learn the better. I don't thing that knowing language alone will overcome prejudices that still exist in some people, but communication with neighbours with local languages and dialects is a very good thing. So, what about local variants of Fijian then? Nadroga dialect for example for the Huva people!

from Fijilive today:
Fijian, Hindi classes for all Fiji schools
Tuesday November 20, 2007

Fiji's two major languages, Hindi and Fijian are expected to be taught from certain classes in all primary and secondary schools around the country starting next year. The new language policy is expected to be implemented when Term 2 starts next year.

The Fiji Cabinet today approved the implementation plan for the language policy based on the use of Fijian, Hindi and English "as a long-term and sustainable strategy for a peaceful and stable, multi-ethnic cultural living in Fiji". Minister for Education, Science and Technology Netani Sukanaivalu said that this new programme will begin in Term 2, 2008 at all classes 5 at primary schools, and at all Form 3 levels at secondary schools.

"The courses will start at beginner's level and gradually progress in proficiency year by year as students progress through schooling, class by class."

He said that this programme is earmarked to start from class 5 mainly because classes 1-4 concentrate on socialising the child into the 'schooling' process and on introducing the teaching and learning of the English language. He said the course structure will comprise two components - conversational Fijian or Hindi, starting at beginner's level then progressing to intermediate, then onto an advanced level, and a component on basic culture studies, that is, Fijian culture or Hindi culture.

"Part of this component will require students to take part in situational learning, either by visiting/assisting a family or through projects to enhance cultural understanding." Sukanaivalu said that students will be assessed at Class 6, Class 8, Form 4 and Form 6 levels.

"Certificates would be given to students after completion of study at each level and after passing the assessment tests." He further said that all teachers and officers at headquarters, divisions and districts offices and also at teachers' colleges will also undergo the same language learning programme. Currently, English, and either Hindi or Fijian is taught based on whether it is an Indian or a Fijian school. Teaching Hindi and Fijian languages in all schools has long been proposed in an effort to bring more understanding between the two races but has never been implemented.


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nzm said...

I would much rather have learnt Fijian and Hindi at Suva Grammar than the stupid French lessons that we were forced to take.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Bula sia, namaste, salaam malekum, hello NZM.
Peceli said that in lots of schools the local languages were taught so it's not a new idea, but in recent years perhaps it kind of disappeared.
When I was collecting children's songs in a primary school they were singing in Hindi and even the local Fijian dialect. Way to go. Of course learning the language of others gives kids a wider vocabulary for swearing!

nzm said...

Wendy: if there's one thing I do remember, it's the swear words! :-)

A dear Fiji friend died in NZ last week - Elspeth Wooley. Not sure if you know of her. Her husband Charles was Controller of Customs.

We lived in the same street in Lami.

We're all feeling the pain of her loss.

Wilson said...

@ nzm

When I was in grammar we had a choice of Fijian and French. Most of the mixed races learnt fijian (i took up fijian because french was reportedly hard), but in retrospect, any subject that wasn't tied to accounting or science wasn't really considered seriously by the school curriculum. When i hear from my cousins overseas how they learn german and study advanced levels of music while still in high school, i begin to wonder if our own schools are seriously lacking in something...

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Wilson,
What will be interesting is how they tackle Hindi because there is a prejudice in some quarters about Hindi Baat - local Hindi as opposed to classical Hindi which not too many speak in Fiji anyway and whether they will tackle the true script of Hindi or the shortcut use of Roman letters. I learnt Fijian at first in a class at the Derrick Tech. (now FIT) and I learnt to read Hindi script somehow without a teacher - learnt to sing bhajans but was never fluent in spoken Hindi. Peceli grew up in Labasa so spoke Fiji Hindi as well as Fijian dialect etc. and later had 'real' lessons in Lautoka in classical Hindi which he didn't really like to use much though some people reckoned he should preach in that language. He was in the Indian Division of the Methodist Church those days.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

No, I didn't know that family. When you live in a city your life is often prescribed by your work or study and social networks that exclude lots of people. And when I was young and lived in Suva my life was rather confined to churchy people and the kids we taught. Nowadays its relatives and relatives and relatives! Though I do excape sometimes to go to the USP and art scenes.

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GadgetNate said...

Glad to see that you are learning Hindi. I have been trying to learn Hindi as well. Another resource you might consider is the daily learn Hindi podcast that my family and I produce. You can see it at

You might also want to subscribe to get daily emails... This can encourage you to learn a little each and every day:

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thank you for the link. Peceli speaks Hindi of the Fiji variety and I used to speak some Hindi and read the script, but lost the skills over the years through little practice. Just remember some bhajans. Fiji Hindi is a bit different from the classical kind of Hindi in India.

van dhy said...

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Saad said...

Hi, my name is Saad and I was hoping there was a way to learn fijian hindi. The one spoken in Labasa. However I live in Australia so I cannot go to schools in Fiji. Can someone tell me a way so I can learn please? It would be deeply appreciated.

Santhiya said...

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jishnu said...

hello Fiji... i am Jishnu from The World Hindi Secretariat, Mauritius. Our aim is to promote the Hindi language and literature, especially outside India and Mauritius. We publish our quarterly and yearly magazine. I'll try to post it in here. I just wanted to ask if any one could give us the address of someone in Fiji who has all the records of the Fiji literature? all the books and magazines published in Fiji? Because we are thinking of publishing the names of all books and authors of Fiji in our annual magazine (Vishwa Hindi Patrika). Awaiting a positive reply


Cupertino Hindi Classes said...

We attended one of the early sessions of Learn Hindi Class taught by the Indian Community in Tallahassee to all members of India Association and general public.

basant vimal sharma said...

multi language is good in a multi cultural society it is good to understand each other they are trying to introduce fiji hindi. fiji hindi is a spoken language it must not be taken as written.the original hindi will be killed. I was in primary school in ba in the ninteen

seventies there were many indiginious fijians excelling in hindi and getting good grades also.