Our first official Regional Language Granny Cloud session…. Many spontaneous sessions and several planned trials in several locations over the past few years has told us this is an idea worth exploring….
Eager to Interact: The first regional language Granny Cloud session at Gosavi Vasti – March 2018 [Photo: Suneeta]
So there we were – on the 13th of March 2018, at Gosavi Vasti with a relatively new group of children, ages 7 to 10, all set to start an interaction with a Marathi speaking Granny from Canada. Late evening and chaotic as usual, the children were in for a surprise. They didn’t know that ‘Ajji’ (Granny) spoke Marathi.
But as often happens, things don’t always work so though ‘Ajji’ could hear us; we could only hear her in spurts. A bit of Marathi followed by English – back to Marathi and then back to English. Unfazed and eager to keep the conversation going ‘Ajji’ kept her bit of the conversation going by texting in English as well.
It was, after all, the very first introductory session, so the usual questions about home and family ensued. Unwilling to accept her grandson’s photo as evidence, the children wanted to refer to her as “Di” because she looked far too young to be a grandmother! [‘Di’ is short for ‘didi’ which means elder sister in Hindi].
The children struggled with their limited English vocabulary and followed it up in Marathi to clarify what they were saying. And Granny understood….
Immersed in the bilingual chat: Gosavi Vasti – March 2018 [Photo: Suneeta]
“Where are you?” “Where do you live?” – are standard questions children ask new Grannies irrespective of location and this was no exception. “Toronto”, came the reply. The children were bemused. They had not heard the word before and it took a while to dawn on them that ‘Toronto’ was a place. So – “where is Toronto?” was the next logical question. No sound! So Granny typed in – “Canada”. And then the vagaries of the English language and the way words are spelt and pronounced came into play. Assuming they had missed hearing what she was saying, the kids read it out for themselves. They had not heard of Canada. But ‘Kannada’ was something they knew. And to clarify for themselves explained to each other, “in English we say that – ‘Canada’ “!
It took a few more minutes to sort out the mystery and acknowledge that ‘Kannada’ was an Indian language and ‘Canada’ was the country where (Ajji) Granny lived!