English and Us!

Well I had to write this someday.

This is about all the people who today miss the best action in this world because of the lack of motivation to understand a basic language – English.

English – although not our native language, is today a mandatory part of nearly every school syllabus in India (well just so that no one even remotely starts to think I’m some professor in English, you are wrong as I just had to confirm the word syllabus for its plural and how it’s used). Not that India doesn’t have good teachers in English and I’m very proud to say today that I got few of the best teachers in the language who at least for my lifetime ensured that I won’t flout any grammatical rules associated with this language. But rather ironically, it’s one part of our curriculum that we as students never take seriously because of our common intention to be a doctor or an engineer and to prepare for our exams for which we often fail to understand that the questions posted in every exam paper will be put up in “English”.

The world understands English. For those who don’t know it yet, although not the most spoken language in this world, it is primary for all of us Indians to understand this language to get a good job and most of those good jobs result from at least a basic understanding of the grammar. Yes, it’s not our native language. Yes, we are poor at it. But we can certainly improve. I mean how many of us even try to speak a clear mistake-free sentence in a day? The rather pronounced MTI (Mother Tongue Influence) as it’s called, just lets us escape the basic requirements of speaking a clear sentence. Why?

Especially in my generation, I mean for people born around the same years that I was, this is absolutely unacceptable. The education from our times and from my elder brothers times has improved considerably. And just because someone is humorous or can talk better in his mother tongue shouldn’t let him escape with a pathetic sentence with a grammar that’ll practically make you puke! Yes we are good to make up understandable enough sentences so that others just about are able to answer them yet there are times when 2 people talking are equally pathetic at grammar and the conversation just induces reactions from me that can make others puke as well! “What is you saying”, “Yes we are poor on it” are just a few better examples. These can get really worse, trust me!

This should change.

I say this has to be changed from roots. At least people who have the privilege (had to check the spelling again) of going to decent enough schools should be made to pay a lot of attention on writing and speaking. I believe it’s all in the head.

Here’s how I learnt it. For me initially, it was all about connecting the words in my native language i.e. Hindi to their corresponding words in English. Not that I sat playing match the following all day but I learnt this doing it day-to-day everyday. Confirming and reconfirming what the other person was trying to say in English and then making a proper sentence of it in my head. It took time but I got better and then someday, I started making sentences on the fly. But this included only basic grammar. No vocabulary, no artistry, no fun. Pure simple English! It’s not difficult. Try it. Create correct sentences and only then say them out aloud. It’s all in the head.

Read a lot and read it all aloud. Try and look at your lips and your tongue in a mirror to practice the correct pronunciations. Try your best to remove MTI. It kills the essence and the meaning of the sentence that you are trying to create. English makes learning all the much better because most of the teachings around us today conform more to English than our mother tongues.

Mother tongue is our mother tongue. It’ll never leave us but we must always remember that the two languages that can make us universal learners will always include English and our mother tongue. Learn it. It’s fun.

How do you people suggest this can change or improve? I need suggestions.

4 thoughts on “English and Us!”

  1. Great post! Yes, learning is fun and being bilingual is very helpful for it makes you more marketeable than those that speak only one language. Suggestions: read to children for they’ll be much more apt to read on their own when they grow up:)


  2. Thanks a lot for your valuable suggestion Marcela! And yes you are absolutely correct. This has to be changed from the roots, from the very start of the education to our children so that what they learn and how they learn it gets included in their heads as a part of their day to day lives and not just special moments when they have to give a particular heed to any particular issue!


  3. Of course a non native speaker could only click “like” on such a post. As ambivalent as it is to speak two languages, I had to learn English when I moved from France to the US. It is an interesting journey for anyone who decides then to write. Certainly a challenge but a fascinating experience, too. Thank you for an interesting post that triggers reflection about languages and what they mean for people.


    1. Thanks a ton for reading and providing your valuable input Evelyn! There are always situations that force you to learn a new language and we must never be scared to embrace the change… it only adds to our knowledge and makes us a better reader and writer! 😀


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