Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

English - setting standards?

English seems to be the "international" language no doubt - thanks to British imperialism and their love for their language. But surprisingly English is not the widely spoken language in the world inspite of it being the language that is widely "used". Though I love the language and appreciate the role that it plays, I can't stop wondering why - especially in India - English is often used as a yardstick to measure one's intelligence and standard!

This scene might be familiar to many - You step into a posch, hep-looking store in Madras - (okay so you want some examples? Say, a Pizza hut, Subway, Landmark, MusicWorld, LifeStyle and the likes...) and if you were to query an attender, you tend to start off in English or more than you do, the attender starts off in English. I am not able to find a reason for this 'strange' behaviour of us (unless we always speak in English)?

Is it that we see ourselves in a higher pedestal when speaking in English?
or is it that we feel low in speaking in our native languages?
or we feel its only appropriate that we speak in English at such places?

I generally make it a point to start my conversation in Tamil to the attenders unless he does not understand the language - especially in such 'hep' places.

The point I am trying to make here is - I am not the one to raise placards against English. Infact good knowledge of English might take you places but at the same time why should I feel low of my native tongue? I am not very sure about other states, but I find the magnitude of this feeling to be quite high in Tamilnadu where people feel low to talk in Tamil. They would even go at length to show their prowess in other languages but not in Tamil. Why? Can't seem find an answer yet...

1 comment:

vasanthi emmanuel said...

You are right-in Chennai it is very conspicuous. I have spent most part of my life in Mumbai and there but for official communication people use Hindi or Marathi.