English for Speakers of Urdu: A Proficiency Course is an attempt at enhancing the empowerment and employability of Urdu speakers by helping them become proficient in English, which is now a global link language. It is aimed at students of madaris and Urdu-medium schools and colleges as well as other speakers of Urdu who feel inhibited due to a lack of fluency in English.
The book starts with the basics-the letters of the English alphabet, the sounds of the language and its vocabulary-and then moves on to grammar as well as punctuation and oral communicative functions that users of English are commonly required to perform. The easy-to-follow explanations and the simple exercises will be of use to students preparing for competitive examinations and entrance tests. The book will also be handy for teachers of English in Urdu-medium schools and colleges.
Gulfishaan Habeeb has a PhD in English from Osmania University, Hyderabad. She has twenty-four years of experience in teaching English in undergraduate, postgraduate and MPhil programmes and has prepared audio and video lessons and edited materials for distance-mode programmes. She has also been supervisor and examiner for MPhil and PhD theses at several universities. With areas of research interest that fall into the broad categories of English literature and ELT, the author has twenty publications to her credit.
Gulfishaan Habeeb headed the Department of English, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, from its inception in 2004 until March 2007. She is presently Associate Professor of English at the Directorate of Distance Education, MANUU.
The important role of English at the present time can neither be denied nor ignored. As an international link language, it has established itself in almost all areas of life across the globe. English is the recognised language of science, technology, trade, the internet, computers, air and water transport, and competitive examinations at the national and international levels. More than any other language in the world today, it is the means of gaining information and disseminating learning.
Over a period of time, English has become the language of employability and empowerment. Therefore, it is essential that speakers of Urdu, especially those who have had the language as the medium of instruction, gain fluency in English. Knowledge of or expertise in English is not to be considered a threat to the Urdu language. Urdu is a vibrant, living language that has contributed immensely to knowledge and learning. It has been a vehicle for expressing the views, aspirations and voices of its native speakers. However, Urdu speakers must make an effort to learn the English language in order to empower themselves and enhance their employability.
The number of employment opportunities increases greatly if one is proficient in English. Therefore, it is at an opportune moment that English for Speakers of Urdu: A Proficiency Course is being published. The book covers aspects of English language in an easy-to-understand manner. The illustrations, practice work and exercises are designed to help develop proficiency in English. The accompanying CD with clarity of voice and good pronunciation will prove to be very useful.
I hope that the book fulfils the requirements of Urdu speakers in becoming proficient in English. I also hope that it becomes a part of the curriculum in Urdu-medium schools and colleges. The book, which is an outcome of Dr Gulfishaan Habeeb's practical experience in teaching English to Urdu speakers, is sure to be effective in enabling learners to gain competence in the language. I am confident that native speakers of Urdu will greatly benefit from it.
This book can rightly be termed a labour of love. Since the time I started teaching English to Urdu-medium students, first at Anwarul Uloom College in 1989, I have been observing the constant problems that Urdu speakers have in learning the English language. In the nineteen years that I taught students (of both English and Urdu mediums) at all levels- senior secondary, undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral research-I have seriously considered the problems of language acquisition and the influence of the mother tongue on the target language.
The difficulty that Urdu speakers have in pronouncing English vowels, diphthongs, consonants and consonant clusters, learning suprasegmental features of the language and using, for example, articles and tenses needs special attention. The materials in this book have been developed in order to teach English bearing in mind the specific needs of the Urdu speaking community. Therefore, culture specific terms and references, even personal names, have been consciously included. I remember, in one of my classes, a student was puzzled by the word 'Charles' in a prose lesson. He thought I had forgotten to give the meaning of the word and wanted to know what it was! Such is the situation many Urdu speakers, who are rarely exposed to the world beyond their family and community, find themselves in when they need to communicate in English.
My experience of teaching English at the tertiary as well as higher levels and my understanding of native speakers of Urdu have helped me write this book, which is an attempt at enabling employability by making Urdu speakers fluent in the global language. I believe that this book will help both students and teachers just as much as it will be of use to homemakers, business people and all those who have had their education in Urdu-medium institutions.
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