Let’s not make our mother tongue “Extinct”

During one of those many late night hangouts that we usually have on our campus, while the pleasant wind is whisking and some jovial discussion is going on, all of a sudden, she uttered a word which is not native to her language but to me. One of her friends taught it the other day. She understands the meaning and has also used it in the context that it fits. But I found it odd. Though it felt nice to hear a word of my language through her lips, though it sounded funny, it was equally odd. The word she spoke is a Telugu word for “Fuck Off”. As I was surprised to hear that, we had a small conversation over it which turned out to be interesting and I thought of sharing it here with you all.

“Don’t say that word again, it doesn’t sound good “I said. Why? I know what does it mean, I’m cool using it, what’s the problem? Was her reply.  I said, though using the F word is not that bad and also sounds cool, it’s not the same when we use it in another language. She countered by asking why is it so? When both have same meaning how does the expression change when we use it in different languages? Was her argument. When I asked her to try to say the same thing in her mother tongue (Hindi) of course in the same context, silence came as a reply (with some thinking in mind). I took the opportunity to explain to her that we use words of English as we need them in the context which they fit better but we don’t actually feel the gravity or intensity of the word. Though used all over the world, English is just a language of communication, I said. She broke into a laugh by hearing this and said how dumb you are! Every language is for communication only, she expressed. I told her No. Then what it is for? Was her question. Well, let me tell you. All the languages in the world are not just a means of communication but a way of expressing emotions. We don’t use our native language just to say words but to let the other person understand our feelings, know the gravity of the expression and empathize. English is not a language by itself but an amalgamation of different words inspired by different languages around the world. A simple search on google for an English word will provide us its history indicating where it has originated from.

As we understand the importance of English for our survival in this world of ruthless competition, we should also recognize the beauty of our own language and preserve it for our future generations to understand this world better. Relating to the art and science concept that I explained in the introductory post of my blog, English is science whereas Mother Tongue is an art. Also, Often times, we misunderstand speaking fluently in English as a sign of knowledge which is not true all the time. Let us step back a bit and spend some time in appreciating the elegance of our mother tongue.

Oh, I stopped the story midway right! She agreed on few things and didn’t few other for obvious reasons (read girl). We shifted to some other topic and started talking about it in our common language, English.


Some more links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language
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Submitted by Shravan Punna

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