What We Do
Zabaan is an independent language school in New Delhi and Mumbai that offers language training at all proficiency levels. Whether at our learning centre or online, Zabaan provides instruction in the following languages: Hindi, Urdu, English, Persian, Tamil, Punjabi, Pashto, Sanskrit. Which zabaan, or tongue, will you learn?
Who We Are
Zabaan is run by Ali Taqi, Neha Tiwari and Rakesh Saraf, three very qualified individuals with impressive and varied backgrounds.
Ali hails from Chicago, and holds a B.A. International Studies, Minor Asian Languages and Literature, 2003, Loyola University Chicago. After anextensive teaching career there and then in Seattle, Ali moved to New Delhi. He has personally taught over a third of the more than 50,000 classes the school has under its belt. With a special interest in linguistics, semantics, syntax, bilingualism, and foreign language teaching techniques, he is fluent in English, Hindi, and Urdu, and teaches all three languages at Zabaan.
Neha was born and brought up in Bhopal. A multi-talented polyglot, she has a M.A. Economics from Delhi School of Economics and B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur. She speaks English, Hindi, Urdu, and knows Sanskrit and Farsi. As an etymology expert, she brings a unique perspective to her teaching: strengthening her students’ vocabulary through deconstructing words into their roots, prefixes, and suffixes. She also likes thinking deeply and reflecting on grammatical structures and what they mean in the larger social and philosophical context in which the language operates and she enjoys putting these ideas and explanations together as blogs or infographics.
Rakesh was born in Srinagar, grew up in Odisha and worked as a CA in both England and Canada before returning to India to become a serial entrepreneur. Currently, in addition to investing in Zabaan, he has promoted and is running Windsor and Netaquila: a medical transcription company.
In addition to the three directors, Zabaan boasts a team of talented polyglot teachers from around the world, who share their passion for language learning and are skilled instructors. Most of Zabaan’s teachers possess advanced degrees in the languages they teach and have years of teaching experience. All have been trained on Zabaan’s teaching methods and curriculum to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of instruction.
Why We Started Zabaan
Language classes in India are typically available at large universities with an academic approach focused narrowly on reading and writing. As language learners themselves, Ali and Neha saw an urgent need for a language learning school in India that favoured practical proficiency built on a deep understanding of grammatical structures and rich vocabulary rather than rote memorization of phrases and a strict academic approach.
How We Teach
Zabaan takes an adaptive approach to teaching that takes into account each student’s interests, learning style, and language learning goals. While Zabaan has designed a curriculum for its classes that will be effective for the widest number of students, the pace, scheduling, and specific topics covered are entirely flexible to meet the individual student’s needs.
Zabaan’s classes strike a balance between thorough explanation of grammatical concepts, introduction of new vocabulary, and conversation practice aimed at fluid communication. Our classes are taught by instructors who are well versed in the grammar of the language they are teaching and have undergone extensive training to teach it as a second or foreign language.
Although students should expect to be assigned homework, there are no exams at the end of courses unless students expressly request such an assessment. Rather, teachers conduct informal evaluations to chart student progress along the way. This informs how they prepare for each class, which always includes a clear lesson plan and defined learning objectives.
Since learning a language can be both exhilarating and daunting, Zabaan seeks to create an atmosphere of rigorous study, while maintaining a relaxed personal relationship with students aimed at helping them feel confident to reach their potential.
In short, we are driven by the question, “Is the student learning?”
Who Would Benefit
The Zabaan experience is ideal for anyone with a passion for language learning who wants to improve their communication skills in one of the languages we offer — regardless of learning style, previous instruction, current proficiency level, or individual goals.
Whether you’re looking to achieve basic, intermediate, or advanced conversational skills, read ancient texts in the original language, pass language exams for the diplomatic corps, or process dense texts in order to conduct academic research on South Asia, Zabaan can help you reach your goals.
Over the years we have taught more than a thousand students from fifty countries with sixty different mother tongues. Our students include expats interested in Indian languages and culture, Indians curious to learn a European language or the Urdu script, as well as diplomats, artists, and representatives from the business community.
How To Start Learning a Language
Contact us to speak with one of our friendly language specialists and to find out more. If you’re ready to start studying a language, take a look at our course offerings and sign up. We offer intensive group courses, evening courses, private lessons, and online training.
Our Language Centres
Zabaan has centres in New Delhi and Mumbai.
Zabaan’s center in New Delhi is located at A-15, First Floor, Kailash Colony, a centrally located residential area of South Delhi a minute walk from the Kailash Colony Metro Station.
Zabaan’s centre in Mumbai is located at Bunglow No.5, Vijay Park Co.op HSG Society, Janki Kutir, Juhu. It’s right behind the Prithvi Theatre and a 10 minute auto-rickshaw ride away from the Ville Parle Local Station.
Our language center features include:
- An extensive library of reference books and literature sourced from Hindi Book Centre.
- Comfortable classrooms with heating and air-conditioning.
- Clean, fully-equipped, western-style restrooms.
- Tasty homemade lunches to share with your classmates.
- Clean drinking water filtered by both Reverse Osmosis and UV technology.
- Delicious complimentary chai and coffee made with certified organic milk from iOrganic farm.
- A first aid kit and contact information for a local doctor and hospital.