Good evening Devansh,
What’s new? - Reading Circle
I have started a reading circle. Every Tuesday at 10:00 pm - we gather together for half an hour, read a few pages from a common book - to fill our minimum weekly reading quota ; and discuss a few words and phrases. Feel free to join along with your friends: Calendar invite
Now, on today’s topic
Is it English or Englishes?
Have you ever thought about how different people have different ways in which they use the English language?
In Noam Chomsky’s famous theory about language, he points out how there is an innate way in understanding all languages. Extending that theory, each of us who isn’t a native English speaker is often bilingual or trilingual or even more. That means, we have a mother tongue on top of which we learn the language of English. English then becomes a second language or a foreign language that we pick up.
MTI, which stands for Mother Tongue Influence is when our native language impacts the accent, pronunciation and even sentence structure of the new languages that we learn.
In India, somehow we are always very ashamed of the Indian English we speak. We are hell-bent on learning British or American accents. We are often shy to speak aloud, we don’t want to say our “i” or “ee” or “shh” loudly.
There is no one accent. There are correct pronunciations of words, there are correct sentence structures, there are rules of grammar, but no one accent is universally correct.
The West is often glorified. But even in the West, we have a Russian accent of English, a Japanese, a Spanish, an Italian accent, and so many more! How many times do we hear them being ashamed of how they speak a foreign language because of MTI?
Technically, the British Island has different tribes who speak various accents of English: Cockney, Scottish, Welsh, etc. For a country whose main language is English, if they are varied accents, how can Indians be uncomfortable with their way of speaking English when we have thousands of languages and dialects?
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn proper pronunciation. You should. If you deal majorly with English-speaking clients, you might have to learn the accent in order for them to understand you properly. We also need it while applying for jobs outside India and such.
Even that, though, should be a reason for us to be ashamed.
Remember, it’s not easy to learn a different language. You have done it and that in itself is a matter of pride! We all have MTI in English, but that doesn’t make us inferior.
I want to know your thoughts on it.
Shubham and Vatsal