Urdu Room : practice Urdu the natural way
For many Pakistani-Americans, especially those born or brought up in America, Urdu is a language that is heard but not spoken. This is a tragedy. Familiarity with Urdu connects us to our roots and is a way of maintaining contact with family members in Pakistan who, in most cases, do not speak English.
One way to make speaking Urdu an everyday experience is to establish an "Urdu room" at home. In this room everyone, from the oldest member of the family to the youngest, must speak in Urdu only.
This method has been used successfully by teachers of other languages. The Urdu room is bound to increase the use and comprehension of the language. The designated room should be one that is frequented by all family members on a regular basis. The kitchen and living room make ideal places.
Here are a few rules for the Urdu room:
1. Speaking in any language other than Urdu will result in a fine (putting $1.00 in a donation box, for example) or loss of privileges.
2. No one is allowed to laugh at or make fun of anyone else. Many youngsters shy away from speaking Urdu because of the ridicule heaped on them. If we want to keep this language alive in North America among the next generation, we must be more patient.
3. Each week, beginners are introduced to new words and their meanings. A bulletin board with the words and their meanings can also be put on the wall and anyone coming in the room during that week must use the words in a sentence.
4. Decorate the room with Urdu calligraphy, signs posted in Urdu (or its English transliteration) reminding family members that the room is Urdu-only. You can also put up pictures of Pakistan to give the room more of a "Pakistani" feel.
A great idea for the language to be passed on from one generation to the next.