It is very urbane to speak English in India. Even day to day communications of most of us have English words in them. Perhaps this is one of the reason why, we are able to steal the thunder of China in the outsourcing side of things.
But frankly speaking, how many of us know our local language well enough? In fact we sometimes play game like “local language hour” where we speak only in local language, how sad?
Let’s take a look at a few facts:
- Schools which don’t teach in English medium are considered low standard.
- People speaking their vernacular are tagged as regional fanatics (they perhaps are when they over do)
- Kids are taught to speak English, parents talk to them only in English
- School and college students hardly know their native language and don’t even bother to refer a dictionary
- Government forms are mostly printed in English and a local language form is presented only on demand
While there may be few states practising protection of their native language by going to extreme extent like having all sign boards in their language, few are too lax and leaving everything in English and treating something written in local language as un-cool.
It is important to strike a right balance.
The right point to start this is at home. Children anyway are taught English in schools, parents should take extra care that their children know and read about their language. Simple ways are to talk to them in your language, let them watch their favorite cartoons in local translation. For little older a local language newspaper or a magazine can do the needed.
Take a look at people of any country, French, Chinese, German or Spanish, they may live in an English speaking country but they make sure that their language is something that their generations don’t forget. They never shy away from speaking in their language.
Even as I write this post, I was wondering if this post could be made available to readers in their own languages. Today’s translation technologies work to translate content into Hindi, but certainly they would work for all Indian Languages in the future.
I am not sure if there is a conclusion to this, I want to leave it open for your thoughts.