Text # 56 English as a National Foreign Language

India has two national languages for central administrative purposes: Hindi and English. Hindi is the national, official, and main link language of India. English is an associate official language. The Indian Constitution also officially approves twenty-two regional languages for official purposes.

Dozens of distinctly different regional languages are spoken in India, which share many characteristics such as grammatical structure and vocabulary. Apart from these languages, Hindi is used for communication in India. The homeland of Hindi is mainly in the north of India, but it is spoken and widely understood in all urban centers of India. In the southern states of India, where people speak many different languages that are not much related to Hindi, there is more resistance to Hindi, which has allowed English to remain a lingua franca to a greater degree.

Since the early 1600s, the English language has had a toehold on the Indian subcontinent, when the East India Company established settlements in Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai, formerly Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay respectively. The historical background of India is never far away from everyday usage of English. India has had a longer exposure to English than any other country which uses it as a second language, its distinctive words, idioms, grammar and rhetoric spreading gradually to affect all places, habits and culture.

In India, English serves two purposes. First, it provides a linguistic tool for the administrative cohesiveness of the country, causing people who speak different languages to become united. Secondly, it serves as a language of wider communication, including a large variety of different people covering a vast area. It overlaps with local languages in certain spheres of influence and in public domains.

Generally, English is used among Indians as a ‘link’ language and it is the first language for many well-educated Indians. It is also the second language for many who speak more than one language in India. The English language is a tie that helps bind the many segments of our society together. Also, it is a linguistic bridge between the major countries of the world and India.

English has special national status in India. It has a special place in the parliament, judiciary, broadcasting, journalism, and in the education system. One can see a Hindi-speaking teacher giving their students instructions during an educational tour about where to meet and when their bus would leave, but all in English. It means that the language permeates daily life. It is unavoidable and is always expected, especially in the cities.

The importance of the ability to speak or write English has recently increased significantly because English has become the de facto standard. Learning English language has become popular for business, commerce and cultural reasons and especially for internet communications throughout the world. English is a language that has become a standard not because it has been approved by any ‘standards’ organization but because it is widely used by many information and technology industries and recognized as being standard. The call centre phenomenon has stimulated a huge expansion of internet-related activity, establishing the future of India as a cyber-technological super-power. Modern communications, videos, journals and newspapers on the internet use English and have made ‘knowing English’ indispensable.

The prevailing view seems to be that unless students learn English, they can only work in limited jobs. Those who do not have basic knowledge of English cannot obtain good quality jobs. They cannot communicate efficiently with others, and cannot have the benefit of India’s rich social and cultural life. Men and women who cannot comprehend and interpret instructions in English, even if educated, are unemployable. They cannot help with their children’s school homework every day or decide their revenue options of the future.

A positive attitude to English as a national language is essential to the integration of people into Indian society. There would appear to be virtually no disagreement in the community about the importance of English language skills. Using English you will become a citizen of the world almost naturally. English plays a dominant role in the media. It has been used as a medium for inter-state communication and broadcasting both before and since India’s independence. India is, without a doubt, committed to English as a national language. The impact of English is not only continuing but increasing.


True/False/Not given

1. English is not an associate official language in India.

2. Hindi is used for communication.

3. The homeland of Hindi is mainly the south of India.

4. In the southern states of India people speak many different languages and they are not related to Hindi.

5. Lingua franca is a language used between peoples whose main languages are different.

6. India is the only country which uses English as a second language.

7. English is the first language for many well-educated Indians.

8. English language in India is an optional course at schools.

9. Mass Media in India use only English language.

10. People who speak English fluently are of great benefit.


Multiple choice questions:

1. According to the writer, the Indian constitution recognizes

a/ 22 official languages.

b/ Hindi as the national language.

c/ 2 national, official languages.

d/ 2 national languages.

2. Dozens of distinctly different regional languages are in India

a/ do not have anything in common .

b/ share many characteristics such as grammatical structure and vocabulary .

c/ have the same sound system .

d/ are full of idiomatic expressions.

3. English's status as a lingua franca is helped by

a/ its status in northern India.

b/ the fact that it is widely understood in urban centres.

c/ the fact that people from the south speak languages not much related to Hindi.

d/ it shares many grammatical similarities with Hindi.

4. In paragraph 3, 'toehold' means that English

a/ dominated India.

b/ changed the names of some cities in India.

c/ has had a presence in India.

d/ has been in India longer than any other language.

5. In India, English

a/ gives more possibilities on the international markets.

b/ provides a linguistic tool for the administrative cohesiveness of the country and serves as a language of wider communication.

c/ allows people from India enter Oxford and Cambridge Universities without passing exams.

d/ has the influence on the political situation of the country.

6. The significance of the ability to speak or write English has recently increased because

a/ it has been approved by any “standards” organization.

b/ most of educational material is written in English.

c/ of wide range of broadcasting programmes.

d/ English has become the de facto standard .

7. Hindi-speaking teachers

a/ might well be heard using English.

b/ only use English.

c/ only use English for instructions.

d/ do not use English.

8. In paragraph eight, it says 'the prevailing view', which suggests that

a/ the view is correct.

b/ the view is held by the majority.

c/ the view is incorrect.

d/ the view is held by the minority.

9. Men and women who cannot comprehend and interpret instructions in English

a/ cannot find a job.

b/ take up English courses .

c/ use cyber translators .

d/ do not care about it .

10. English in India

a/ is going to decrease.

b/ has decreased since independence.

c/ causes disagreement.

d/ is going to have a greater importance.



Text # 57 Weather Changes


Weather has always intrigued human beings and inspired them to defy nature and try to predict the unpredictable. For centuries fanners watched clouds to determine whether rain was on its way. Mariners studied the changing sky and the drift of the clouds to predict wind directions and storms. Today, the science of meteorology is very complex. It involves gathering information from instruments that measure temperature, air pressure, wind velocity, degree of sunshine, cloudiness, and precipitation Satellites and electronic computers make it possible to monitor weather information around the world. By studying all the information that is accumulated, the meteorologist determines the general weather pattern over the past few days and makes a prediction about the next few. Weather forecasting, of course, is still not infallible, and may never be.

All weather changes are brought about by temperature changes in different parts of the atmosphere. The sun controls our lives and our weather as it radiates energy to the earth. The areas of the earth near the equator get more heat from the sun than do those near the North and South Poles. The warm air near the equator expands and rises, moving toward the poles. As it cools, it sinks, replacing the cool air on the surface that has moved toward the equator to replace the rising warm air. This unequal heating of the earth causes north and south winds. East-west winds are caused by the rotation of the earth.

Atmospheric pressure, as measured by a barometer, is another indicator of the weather. The amount of water vapor in the air is another predictor. Warm air can dissolve more water than cold air, just as hot tea dissolves more sugar than iced tea. The point at which the air cannot hold any more water is called the saturation point. On a warm day, if the air is saturated with moisture and the temperature drops, the excess water is squeezed out of the air. We see this moisture appearing as dew, fog, or clouds. If sufficient water is squeezed out, we have rain or, at temperatures below the freezing point, snow.


1. Read the text and then choose the one best answer A, B, C, D, to finish a sentence.


1. People have always been intrigued by

           A. rotation of the earth              

    B. nature. 

           C. wind velocity.

           D. weather.


2. The text primarily discusses

           A. weather information.                      .

           B. weather forecasting.

           C. weather changes

    D. the science of meteorology.


3. In the underlined phrase ‘than do those’ the word ‘those’ refers to

            A. our lives.                                                              

  B. warm air.  

            C. areas of the earth.

            D. sun.


4. According to the text the winds are

             A. the indicator of the weather.

             B. replacing the cool air.

             C. cool air near the equator.

             D. the rotation of the earth.


5. Water is squeezed out of the air if

               A. air is saturated with moisture.

               B. there is much water in warm air.

               C. there is much water in cold air.

               D. it rains.

2. Choose the letter of the answer that best matches the meaning of the underlined word as it is used in each of these sentence.

1. Geologists can only estimate the age of the earth.

               A. prove                          

               B. guess     

               C. serve

          D. imagine


2. Many people live along the Nile River because the land is fertile.

               A. flat                             

               B. poor 

               C. unproductive

         D. productive


3. Lands that were arid for centuries have been converted into gardens

With the use of irrigation.

               A. dry                               

               B. moist      

C. cool

                D. fertile


4. Iron is a very versatile substance because it can be used in a great

Number of ways.                                                                                                        

               A. useful                               

               B. scarce    

               C. many-sided

              D. abundant


5. We used the solvent to remove the dry paint.

               A. petrol                               

               B. water 

               C. liquefier

                  D. hardener





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