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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Prose
Think as You Read
What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?
Answer:- That day Franz was expected to be prepared with participles because M. Hamel had said that he would question them on participles. Franz did not know anything about participles.
What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?
Answer:- Usually when the school begins, there would be a lot of commotions. But that day, everything was quiet and it appeared to be like a Sunday, but the students were at their places and Mr Hamel was walking up and down with his terrible iron ruler under his arm.
What had been put up on the bulletin board?
Answer:- The bulletin board displayed the news that an order had come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The teaching of the French language was discouraged and had to be discontinued. The French districts of Alsace and Lorraine had been taken over by the Prussians and the ban on French language came about as a result.
Think as You Read
What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?
Answer:- M. Hamel had put on his best dress—his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt and the little black silk cap, all embroidered. The whole school seemed so strange and solemn. On the back benches that were always empty, the elderly village people were sitting quietly like the kids.
How did Franz’s feelings about M. Hamel and school change?
Answer:- Franz felt sorry for not learning his French lessons when he realized that he was to receive his last lesson in French that day. His books, that had seemed such a bother a while back, seemed precious to him and he felt he could not give them up. He had disliked his teacher, M Hamel, previously, but he felt sad on that day at the thought of his leaving.
UNDERSTANDING THE TEXT
The people in this story suddenly realise how precious their language is to them. What shows you this? Why does this happen?
Answer:- M. Hamel told the students and the villagers that henceforth only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Those who called themselves Frenchmen would neither be able to speak nor write it. He praised French as the most beautiful, the clearest and the most logical language in the world.
He said that for the enslaved people that their language was the key out of prison. Only then the people realised the importance of their language. This shows people’s love for their own culture, traditions and country. Pride in one’s language reflects pride in the motherland.
Franz thinks, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” What could this mean?
Answer:- Alphonse Daudet’s ‘The Last Lesson’ very prominently raises the question of linguistic and cultural hegemony of the colonial and imperial powers and their lust for controlling the world and influencing their cultures and identities. Prussians acquired the districts of Alsace and Lorraine in Franco-Prussian War ,
but they were not satisfied with mere political domination ,they desired to enforce their own language on the people of the defeated nation. They released the order that from now German would be taught in schools rather than French. Franz wondered whether they would make even pigeons sing in German.
It means that they had grown up using French as their language and now snatching away their language from them would be unfair and unkind. The language was as natural to them as cooing is to the pigeon. So, compulsion to speak another language is like dominating the force of nature and enslaving it.
As it is next to impossible to alter the way pigeons sing, in the same way it is difficult for people to accept a language which is forcibly imposed on them. Adopting a new language causes pain and discomfort.
TALKING ABOUT THE TEXT
When people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison. Can you think of examples in history where a conquered people had their language taken away from them or had a language imposed on them?
Answer:- People of Alsace and Lorraine were shattered and shocked to read the order that came from Berlin. As per this order French would no more be taught in schools. Only German was to be taught. This order made them realize what they were going to miss. Their basic right to learn the mother tongue was taken away from them. This evoked patriotism and love for mother tongue in them. They were full of remorse and regretted that they had not given importance to their mother tongue earlier.
As a mark of respect to their mother tongue and the French teacher, M. Hamel, the eminent people of the village came to attend the last lesson of M. Hamel. Hauser had brought an old primer. Even the little children were shocked. Franz, who never liked to learn the language, found himself in a state of shock and suddenly started developing a liking for the language as well as for his teacher.
What happens to a linguistic minority in a state? How do you think they can keep their language alive? For example:
Punjabis in Bangalore
Tamilians in Mumbai
Kannadigas in Delhi
Gujaratis in Kolkata
Answer:- A linguistic minority in a state does not have as much liberty to exercise linguistic skills as the natives of the state. They initially try to learn the jargons in order to cope with the day-to-day life activities and finally begin to understand the native language with regular interaction. At the workplace and educational organisations,
English or the link language helps a lot to cope up with the work and learning process. But, when it comes to understanding the basic norms of the society, in order to socialize, one does face a sort of linguistic barrier during communication.
To keep their language alive, the linguistic minorities can form small communities where they can celebrate their festivals as per their traditions. Moreover, they can continue to speak their native language at their homes in order to make their children learn the language. People must, even, try to visit their native places at regular intervals in order to stay close to their roots.
Is it possible to carry pride in one’s language too far? Do you know what ‘linguistic chauvinism’ means?
Answer:- Linguistic chauvinism’ means an aggressive and unreasonable belief that your own language is better than all others. This shows an excessive or prejudiced support for one’s own language.
Sometimes pride in one’s own language goes too for and the linguistic enthusiasts can be easily identified by their extreme zeal for the preservation and spread of their language. In their enthusiasm, love and support for their own language, they tend to forget that other languages too have their own merits, long history of art, culture and literature behind them.
Instead of bringing unity and winning over others as friends, having excessive pride in one’s own language creates ill-will and disintegration. The stiff-resistance to the acceptance of Hindi as national language by the southern states of India is a direct outcome of the fear of being dominated by Hindi enthusiasts. The result is that ‘One India’ remains only a slogan.
The Last Lesson Working with words
English is a language that contains words from many other languages. This inclusiveness is one of the reasons it is now a “world language”. For example:
petite – French
kindergarten – German
capital – Latin
democracy – Greek
bazaar – Hindi
Find out the origins of the following words:
Answer:- Tycoon – It is borrowed from the Japanese word taikun, meaning ‘great lord’.
Barbecue – It is borrowed from the Spanish barbacoa, a framework used for storing meat or fish that was to be dried or smoked. It was also used to mean a framework on which one could sleep. The Spanish word came from the Arawak barbacoa, meaning ‘a framework of sticks on posts’ referring to the framework of such a structure.
Zero – The word zero comes through the Arabic literal translation of the Sanskrit shunya meaning void or empty, into cifr meaning empty or vacant. Through transliteration, this became zephyr or zephyrus in Latin. The word zephyrus already meant ‘west wind’ in Latin; the proper noun Zephyrus was the Roman god of the West Wind (after the Greek god Zephyros). With its new use for the concept of zero, zephyr came to mean a light
breeze – an almost nothing.
Tulip – The word originated in Turkey. It was derived from dulband which meant turban and somewhat described the shape of the flower.
Veranda – The word originated in India where it is found in several native languages. However, it may have been an adaptation of the Portuguese and Spanish word baranda referring to a railing, balustrade, or balcony.
Ski – The word ‘ski’ (pronounced ‘shee’ in Norwegian) is derived from the old Norsk word skith meaning to split a piece of firewood.
Logo – A logo (from the Greek word logotipos) is a graphic element, symbol, or icon of a trademark or brand and together with its logotype, set in a unique typeface or arranged in a particular way.
Robot – Robot comes from the Czech word robot, which means worker.
Trek – It is borrowed from the Dutch word trekken which means to draw, pull, or travel.
Bandicoot – Bandicoot, a large rat, derives its name from Pandhikoku in Telugu, which meant pig-like.
Notice the underlined words in these sentences and tick the option that best explains their meanings.
(a) “What a thunderclap these words were to me!”
The words were
(i) loud and clear.
(ii) startling and unexpected.
(iii) pleasant and welcome.
Answer:- (ii) startling and unexpected.
(b) “When people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison.”
It is as if they have the key to the prison as long as they
(i) do not lose their language.
(ii) are attached to their language.
(iii) quickly learn the conqueror’s language
Answer:- (ii) are attached to their language.
(c) Don’t go so fast, you will get to your school in plenty of time.
You will get to your school
(i) very late.
(ii) too early.
(iii) early enough.
Answer:- (iii) early enough.
(d) I never saw him look so tall.
(i) had grown physically taller.
(ii) seemed very confident.
(iii) stood on the chair.
Answer:- (ii) seemed very confident.
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