03 June 2006

Hapless Language Abilities

I have been meeting a lot of people. Most of them happen to be what media calls, urbanely or even cosmopolitan. What are conspicuous are their language abilities. I have seen them struggling to say what they exactly wanted to say.

To my dismay it is increasingly so! The phrases "you know what I mean", "I mean", "that means", are abundant in their conversation. Most of them either educated in English there by deprived of an opportunity to master their mother tongue or studied in mother tongue but spoke in some other language most of the time.

They neither know their mother tongue properly nor English. It sometimes makes me sick. In spite of having thousands of languages why is our generationX is being pushed to linguistic poverty? Partly responsible though, individuals do not seem to realise that they have been traped in some kind of mess.

As usual, they believe that is not a great thing! What is so big about it by the way! Grapes high in the sky are sour! I have been accused of regionalism whenever I have tried to convince that its important to know one language completely and comprehensively. What we are taught in India is not English. It’s Binglish (Bengali), Kinglish (Kannada), Tinglish (Tamil, Telugu) or Hinglish. Are`t we very proud about whatever [X]inglish we speak?

It looks as if we have chosen to live how society of our time lives. Can’t we make efforts to learn one language properly. I get disheartened whenever a young Bangalorian speaks in Kannada, a mumbaikar speaks in Marathi, or Hindi (Unless he is a UP Bayya). They struggle. Some know that they struggle. Many do not even know that their language is poor. Why people are neglecting it, when most of our life is spent on learning programming languages? (If you are a software engineerJ)

The issue is not just of a language. It’s also about an identity. Those who belong to everything belong to nothing. While it is scientifically accepted that mastering mother language is the key to strengthen language skills, society may not accept it as long as it is seen to be an inconvenience. What an ingenious creations are these languages! They are treasures of societies. Don’t they deserve more regard?
~r

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