English Vinglish

Looking at the title, you might think, yet again, I’m going to be drawing a metaphor from the movie, considering my self-proclaimed love for them. However, let me assure that only the title has been borrowed…. and maybe a bit of emotion too.
As a child in a small town left as a consequence of the long lost British rule, I was but naturally admitted to a convent school where English was the only language that could be received with respect. We were encouraged to speak in English during lunch hour, in the commute back home and also while engaging with parents and other friends back home, of course, a word of local language spoken in the classroom meant penalty. (What! I won’t go into that, now) Elocution classes, calligraphy and grammar classes ensured that we stick to govern.
As I grew, I saw the evolution of English in our society, similar to the growth of natural hybrids. English medium schools popped up like wild mushrooms. Hoardings across the city proudly announced the business names in English in bold fonts while the local language sat grumpy in the left bottom corner. This was exactly when Amitabh announced to the world, “I can taak English, I can waak English … “ and the whole country wanted to follow suit.
With the emergence of BPOs, the youngsters’ brains went into frenzy and the trains/buses/taxis all affectedly proclaimed:  English bolna seekhein 6 hafton mein” (Learn English in 6 weeks!). No looking back from there on and soon schools/institutions started foreign language classes as if the whole country is soon migrating elsewhere. Well, considering the trend, it very well may! And for that, you have go to “shcool”.

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 Its still not a forgotten fact that our next generation is tutored and raised (from the age of 0) with a mind set that English is our first language and the rest just follows. Oh! You don’t agree?? Why else would the English alphabets find room in their nurseries even on the walls while the Hindi varnmala only enters the room post kinder garden? Not that I am imposing this is wrong. I just can’t!! This post is in English and there’s no other way that I can express. I worship the language. Did I already mention, how I love to correct my friends, if by chance, they pronounce a word wrong in English?

Anyhow, the datum still remains that even after 65 years of independence, Shashi (read: Sridevi) is still a slave to English Vinglish. And yes, how can we forget Kangna with her crooked lip speech? Also, the man of the match who said, “Inshallah! agli baar hum hee jeetenge” (why did’nt he say that in English?!!) Sorry, this seems to be turning out as a celebrity bashing post, which was not meant to be. Maybe, sometime later…
Now that social networking has grabbed us with both hands, we have everyone expressing themselves in good/bad English and also Hindi written in English. And how can we forget the teen talk… what with every word chopped to 4 letters as per sms rules!  English murdered!  No wonder we see so many bad English signs about- everywhere.

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Here is when the little one runs into the room lamenting, “mama, mujhe paer mein dard ho raha hai, main school mein gir gayee thi”. Instead of being concerned about that, I respond, “ baby, how would you say that in English now?”
Guess it really is a trap!

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14 thoughts on “English Vinglish

  1. Very well written once again… We all are becoming slaves of this language….Love the last stanza of this blog…The other day I went to my daughters school (it was her first day to 2nd std) and I met her class teacher and she was not able to converse with me in english and I got so furious that I came back home and told my wife that lets change her school as her class teacher was not able to converse in english…. Yesterday my daughter told me that her class teacher teaches hindi in thr school…. I felt so bad after listening to that and really thought that how english has become so important for us….Being a bit week myself in grammar and spellings… Its an added pressure on my kids that they do good in it and the ppl those who are good in English they also give added pressure to thr kids to only converse in English…I think I m getting little more emotional with this but then compliment goes to your writing that u connect with ppl…Good going and very well written… Really liked the pics which u have put in your blog…. (Pls pardon for grammatical and spelling mistakes) 🙂

  2. Thanks for the read.Indeed, we do pressurize our kids to speak and "behave" in English now a days. Guess, we just can't escape the truth that it is the official language of our country. Guess, the trick is to take it in stride. Enjoy the language! BTW, its great 🙂

  3. Our nation's motto seems to be : Garv se kaho hum English-speaking Bhartiye hain.That most people end up killing that language as well as their own mother-tongue everytime they open their mouth is, of course, the larger reality!Great post. My first visit to your blog 🙂

  4. Absolutely true, Rickie! Guess the language has actually polluted the blood stream of the society. My angst is not the use of English, its the misuse .Anyway, thanks for the read 🙂

  5. I agree to the thought and much to my dislike … i think i am also part of the mileu which is quick to tick of erroneous english .. while i wud not really hv a clue about errors of hindi… English should have been a language but somehow it has become an acceptance symbol…. And the beauty is that if we travel the world we realise that all other nations take pride in their native language …. Ask a Frenchman and he wud default reply in French … Ask a German and what u get is German … And guess what … try speaking to a Tamilian or a Telegu guy …. kill me if he answers in Hindi ….;-) …. Then why cant we have the same attitude … somehow we need to start following the 2 language rule… where it shud be neccessary to be able to talk and write Hindi n English …

  6. The feeling is mutual my friend! In spite of everything, English still remains our mainstream language. Now my issues is not even that…My issue is the misuse of the language :)Thanks for stopping by …mwah!

  7. Knowing English is good as knowing any other language but judging someone on basis of that is utterly nonsense and biased. Here in US people are from various cultural backgrounds and are not shy of conversing in their own language but when two Indians meet they always speak in English.

  8. Good post. Misuse of the English language is very common here in the United States too! Love what you said about part of the problem being that the younger people are used to chopping up words because of texting. It's deplorable. About the use of English as primary language in India…I had a good friend several years ago who told me stories about getting into trouble in school for slipping up and using the native language. Sounded pretty harsh!

  9. Thanks Tracy. Yes, I have seen similar signs (like the ones I posted here) from America too. Guess the woes of bad grammar has left none. Yes, in India, English is considered to be at a very high pedestal and hence the treatment…. 🙂

  10. Well we grew up in a bong medium school.. And English speaking was quite a terror for us… We cursed the fact we were in bong medium… Thanks to cricket i learned English… My vocab still has the cricket hang over… But what u were kinna criticising… The anglification if the indian society , i think its a natural evolution…, the local languages have always undergone changes with the advent of new languages… Hindi pre Urdu era was very diff from present Hindi… Half of our present Hindi vocab is arbi or faarsi… Now its english's turn… And economics is what propels the change… So u never know we might be in for some mandarin lessons in near future… And angrez kids 50yrs from now while comin outta a brawl might prefer Teri naa Ki than WTF… 😉

  11. Haha, that would be an interesting turn of events!Anyway, my tiff is not the use of the language, but the misuse. Also, the way we idolize the language and thread it to our social status! No contest, just a thought 🙂

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