Friday, July 12, 2013

Is it so important to speak in correct English?

Why do we have to speak proper English, when foreigners cannot speak proper Hindi?

I have been hearing this statement in it's variations a lot, of late.

Now, my questions is, which foreigner went to a Hindi medium school, and studied it as a first language? But, you and I, had English as our first language, and Hindi as the second, right? So,

  1. Why would you compare your incapability of forming a grammatically correct sentence in English, to an expat's command over Hindi? The dialogue from the film English Vinglish, where the US national in the Visa office asked Sridevi how will she survive in the US without knowing English, and his colleague told him, "The same way you survive here," is kind of stupid and incorrect. Here, we fall over our own two feet, to converse with expats in English, however lousy it is. There, no one accommodates us, we have to learn - even copy their accents. So yes, English is important if you are trying to even holiday on the global scene. 
  2. When you can speak Hindi grammatically correct, then why not English. Hindi was your second language in school, right?
  3. When you can laugh at a Gujarati's funny accent, a south-Indian's use as well as emission of the letter h from a lot of Hindi words, or a Bengali getting confused between jaata and jaati, then why cannot someone correct your English? Do not bullshit me by saying that every Indian is supposed to know Hindi, as it is our national language. You will only show your own lack of knowledge. India doesn't have a national language. We have TWO official languages - English and Hindi and knowing either works fine. Click here to know more.
  4. Yes, knowing either of the languages is fine to get your work done. But do we need to butcher the language we are not conversant in? When you try to show off using French or German phrases, as is a fad, now a days, you google, right? You find out what the correct sentence is. You speak your mother-tongue impeccably (I am not talking about the breed that is ashamed to do so), you have learnt Hindi for only ten years of your life yet you speak it well, then why, when you need to use English in your areas of work daily, can you not bother to say it properly?
No, I am not being snooty. I don't advocate the thought that one is cool only when they converse in English. What I do advocate however, is, that one is very uncool when one talks without bothering to know if what they are saying is correct or not, whichever language that would be. 

What I am saying is as simple as this - use correct grammar, whichever language you speak in. I have more respect for people who speak in correct Hindi, than those who say, "Oh! I didn't knew!

Why be so pretentious? And while being pretentious, these same people forget that they sneer at other Indians who speak Hindi with mother-tongue influence.

Why be pretentious? Why be judgemental? And if someone corrects you nicely, why not be receptive? Accepting your mistakes, only makes you a better human being!

And, people who correct!! Nope, they are no saints either! Why sneer and laugh? Why make fun of someone who already doesn't know? If you know something, that the other doesn't, why not share your knowledge with grace? Most people are not receptive to having their English corrected, because of the way it is done. No! Either help someone learn or shut up. Knowing correct English isn't the biggest achievement in the world either!!

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Disclaimer: These are my views. Yours might be different. Doesn't mean you are right. :-)

2 comments:

  1. Sam,
    VERY well-written, and needless to say, to the point.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sam. I wanted to point both sides to the coin since long, but was ignoring the want. Finally wrote :)

      Delete

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