Mummy Tongue 1

>Indians are the best non native speakers of English in the world.
This has had a role to play in Indians grabbing a large piece of the technology cake.

Every Indian parent dreams of his/her child speaking flamboyant English. This has resulted in people like me, who can read, write and in some scenarios speak better in English that my mother tongue ! Once an exception, this is slowly becoming the norm in the urban Indian middle class, atleast in the south.

Language is one of those aspects of culture that are highly resistant to change. With the right pressure, it may take only a couple of generations to significantly change the food habits or dressing style of a culture. But language will largely persist in more or less the same form.

300 years of political and economic dependence on the British has left the Indians obsessed with English. People from my grandpa’s generation take pride in their English speaking capabilities even though they are the ones who witnessed the freedom struggle India went through.

Our language has changed.
Many of us have stopped writing in our mother tongues altogether. Many of us don’t read much either after school. We try our best to speak in English where ever possible in the society. Personal communication like letters and email is almost totally in English.

All the above hold good for the urban middle class and above. Don’t worry, the lower classes and the village folks are trying their best to imitate the so-called educated people.

We should be grateful to English for helping us earn our bread and butter, oops! sorry, rice and sambar. But should we not stop there ? Why are we crazy about English ? Why do we yearn that our children’s first spoken word be ‘Mummy’ ?

One comment on “Mummy Tongue

  1. Reply rowdyrascal Jun 23,2006 8:17 am

    >Well said. Also it is no longer treated as yet another language and as just another means of communication.
    The one who doesn’t have the grasp of the language feels inferior to the others and at the kids’s level too, the scenario is the same, unfortunately.
    Well in reality it is just the difference in exposure levels that makes the difference.
    One doesn’t definitely become better just because he/she speaks/writes Good English.

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