OVERESTIMATING ''ENGLISH'' AS A LANGUAGE
by ASTHA MAINI
Just to quote, as per 2011 census, English is the primary language, mother tongue, of 256000 people, second language of 83 million people and the third language of another 46 million people, making it the second-most widely spoken language after Hindi. Before we dig ourselves in the article, let’s ask few WHYs from ourselves. Why don’t we feel guilty if we do not know Hindi maatra, swar, vyanjan? Do we equally feel bad when we make mistakes in Hindi language just the way we do in English grammar? Do we take the same pride in not knowing our mother tongue well? Why do we start judging people if they make grammatical mistakes in English and casually accepts such mistakes in Hindi? It’s the attitude that we carry which brings me to the above title. Language is the essence of people residing in different parts of the world. We often overestimate the importance of language by giving it undue importance. English, undeniably, is the most recognized language, but does that make our mother tongue any less important to us? Hold onto your language or see it getting extinct in coming years.
As an English facilitator, I have been questioned by a child that if I believe all languages are same, then why do I not let them speak in the language they are most comfortable in? The question does have a point. Answer to this is pretty simple, language is a medium of communication. We need a common language to express our ideas, thoughts, beliefs and understand the same of others. Since English is a globally accepted language, we need to get a hold of it in order to transact our business both officially and unofficially.
English was/is always a medium of expression but sadly, it has become more of a status symbol. People speaking in English in pubic places are considered elite and confident. The ones who do not, sadly have to speak in hushed tones while asking for the same thing.
Well, its rightly said, as long as we hold onto our language, its like a key to the prison. Take pride in your language rather than subduing it, just because someone else is not familiar with yours. Language is our identity! IT MAKES US WHO WE ARE. It’s nothing less than a blessing to communicate our ideas. So, the next time, if someone tries to pull you back for not knowing the language, they know, show them how fluent you are, in yours. Remember, whatever language you are familiar with and are comfortable in, know it all. That makes me quote “JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF NONE”
If next time you see someone struggling and fumbling up with the words and pronunciation, it’s okay! Politely, correct them. There is no harm in not knowing it all. What matters is the attitude you hold while correcting the other person for their mistakes. All of us are different and so does our power of grasping things. Some do it with ease, whereas others take little extra time and effort to get hold of the same things. Take pride and control of the beautiful language that empowers you!