NCERT Solution - The Last Lesson Class 12 Notes | EduRev

English Class 12

Commerce : NCERT Solution - The Last Lesson Class 12 Notes | EduRev

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Page No: 2

1. Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meanings from the context.

in great dread of: fearful in anticipation of something
counted on: to rely or trust on somebody/something
thumbed at the edges: worn or soiled edges caused by frequent handling
in unison:something happening or being done at the same time
a great bustle: an excited (and often noisy) activity or a rapid, active commotion
reproach ourselves with: to express disapproval, criticism, or disappointment

Page No: 7

Think As you Read

1. What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?
Franz was expected to be prepared with participles that day as Mr. Hamel had told the class that he would be taking a test on the topic that day.


2. What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?


 Usually, when school began there would be a lot of commotion. 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.

3. What had been put up on the bulletin -board?


For the last two years all the bad news had come from the bulletin-board. An order had come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The Germans had put up this notice on the bulletin-board.

Page No: 8

 1. What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?

The order from Berlin brought all the routine hustle-bustle of the school life to a stand-still. The teacher, M. Hamel, became more sympathetic to his students and taught his lessons with more patience. The students became more attentive in their classes. The villagers, who were sitting at the usually empty back benches and had come to show their respect and gratitude to M. Hamel, regretted not going to school more than they did. The order also brought about a great change in the feelings of the people towards their country and their native language. There was a general sadness about not being able to utilise the opportunities of learning French when it was easily accessible.

2. How did Franz's feelings about M. Hamel and school change? 
Franz was shocked when M. Hamel told the students about the order from Berlin and that it was their last French lesson. He forgot about his teacher’s ruler and crankiness. He developed a fondness for M. Hamel at the troubling idea of being separated from him forever. He understood the pain and agony his teacher was undergoing. And, he became more sympathetic towards his teacher.
His school too, now, carried a different meaning. His books and lessons seemed old friends whom he couldn’t give up. He realised with pain how much French meant to him and regretted not being attentive in his classes earlier. Suddenly, he felt that the ‘difficult concepts’ had never actually been difficult.

Page No: 9

1. The people in this story suddenly realize how precious their language is to them. What shows you this? Why does this happen?

M. Hamel told the students and 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 most logical language in the world. He said that for the enslaved people, their language was the key to their prison. Then the people realised how precious their language was to them. This shows people's love for their own culture, traditions and country. Pride in one's language reflects pride in motherland.

Talking about the Text

1. “When a 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?


Some examples of the native language taken away from its people and/or imposition of the language of the conqueror are:
(a) Portuguese becoming the lingua franca of Angola.
(b) English imposed on the various Celtic peoples.
(c) Spanish imposed on the Basques and the Catalans.
(d) Turkish imposed on the Kurds.

2. 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

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.

3. Is it possible to carry pride in one’s language too far?
 Do you know what ‘linguistic chauvinism’ means?

Yes, it is possible to carry pride in one's language too far if one is fond of one’s own language at the cost of others. Indifference towards other languages is not healthy for any democracy like India.
When the sense of belonging to one's own language crosses the thin line between ‘pride’ and ‘proud’, it becomes linguistic chauvinism. If people feel good about their languages and traditions, they must have tolerance for other languages too. Everybody has the right to follow the religion as well as speak the language as per his/her desire. In fact, it is disparaging to distort the names of communities, for example, Bongs for Bengalis, Gujju for Gujratis, etc.

Working with Words

1.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 origin of the following words.
 Tycoon, tulip, logo, bandicoot, barbecue, veranda, robot, zero, ski, trek

tycoon – Japanese
tulip – French
logo – Greek
bandicoot – Telugu
barbecue – Spanish
veranda – Hindi
robot – Czech
zero – Italian
ski – Norwegian
trek – Dutch

Page No: 10

 2. 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.

(b) “When a 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.
 (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.
 (d) I never saw him look so tall.

 M. Hamel _____________________
 (a) had grown physically taller.
 (b) seemed very confident.
 (c) stood on the chair.

(a) (ii) startling and unexpected.
(b) (ii) are attached to their language.
(c) (iii) early enough.
(d) (b) seemed very confident.

Noticing Form

1. Read this sentence.

M. Hamel had said that he would question us on participles.
In the sentence above, the verb form “had said” in the first part is used to indicate an “earlier past.” The whole story is narrated in the past. M. Hamel’s “saying” happened earlier than the events in this story. This form of the verb is called the past perfect.
Pick out five sentences from the story with this form of verb and say why this form has been used.
In the following sentences, two activities of past, occurring at two different points of time in the past, are indicated. The one that happens earlier takes the “had” + past form of verb (V3), while the one that follows it takes the simple past form of verb (V2).


Sentences in past perfect form

Reason/ Explanation

I had counted on the commotion to get to my desk without being seen; but, of course, that day everything had to be as quiet as Sunday morning.The protagonist decided to depend on the commotion to sneak into the classroom before he encountered the quietness at the school.
Not till then, when I had got a little over my fright, did I see that our teacher had on his beautiful green coat … prize days.Getting over the fright happened before he noticed his teacher’s green coat.
…Hauser had brought an old primer, thumbed at the edge, and he held it open on his knees with his great spectacles lying across the pages.Of the two actions, Hauser’s bringing of the old primer happened before he held it open on his knees.
It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more.The feeling of regret comes after they realise they did not go to school more than what they did.
My books, that had seemed such a nuisance … were old friends now that I couldn’t give up.The books were a nuisance earlier. It is only later that the protagonist talked about them in a different light.


1. Write a notice for your school bulletin board. Your notice could be an announcement of a forthcoming event, or a requirement to be fulfilled, or a rule to be followed.




July 25, 2012


The school has decided to celebrate its Annual Sports Day on 25 July 2012. All those interested to participate in the various sports activities are requested to give their names to their respective class teachers latest by 6 July 2012 in the following format.


Class & Section:-

Activity 1:-

Activity 2:-

Activity 3:-

A copy of the list of sports activities has been sent to your class teacher. Please note that no student is allowed to participate in more than three sports activities.

Rahul Sinha

Head Boy

2. Write a paragraph of about 100 words arguing for or against having to study three languages at school.


Studying Three Languages At School

In most of the states in India, students have to study three languages at school. One of them is the mother tongue, the second is Hindi (the national language) and the third is English (the international or link language). In Hindi speaking region, a South or East Indian language—Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malyalam or Bangla, Oriya, Assamese etc is taught. The three-language formula helps in national integration by acquainting young students about the social customs, rituals, culture and traditions of the various parts of the country. It also focuses on the principle of unity in diversity. The only drawback in this system is that it puts an excessive burden on the minds of the young learner. To alleviate their problem, the courses of study in the three languages may be structured suitably. 

3. Have you ever changed your opinion about someone or something that you had earlier liked or disliked? Narrate what led you to change your mind.


Facts are sometimes stronger than fiction. Many occurrences of life come as eye-openers. Such an experience occurred the previous day which led me to change my mind about our hostel warden Miss Angela Thomas. Overnight the terrible titan was transformed into a loving and affectionate elder sister full of milk of human kindness. Now when I remember how I disliked her and invented nicknames and pranks to tease her, I feel ashamed of myself. Yesterday, I had a terrible nightmare and I cried and wept. My room-mate failed to console me and reported the matter to the warden. God knows how long I remained unconscious! When I came to my senses I found my head in the lap of Miss Angela Thomas. Her eyes were red with tears and bps moving in prayer. She had really proved an angel for me and saved me.

Things To Do

1. Find out about the following (You may go to the internet, interview people, consult reference books or visit a library.)

(a)Linguistic human rights

(b)Constitutional guarantees for linguistic minorities in India.


Extension Activity: To be done under the Teacher’s Guidance.

2. Given below is a survey form. Talk to at least five of your classmates and fill in the information you get in the form.


Extension Activity: To be done under the Teacher’s Guidance.

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