English as a second language in India

English as a second language in India


India is a multilingual country. She is believed to have 1652 mother tongues of which people numbering over a lakh speak 33. The officially recognized languages are 22. Though Hindi is commonly spoken language in India but in a situation such as ours, it is spoken but with restricted use within community. The usefulness of Hindi as a lingua franca, however appeared  to be regionally limited, as in some areas few people know it or they dislike it. It has failed to prove itself as a language that is able to bridge the gap between these different Indian languages of various communities.

Present day English has superseded Hindi language. English language has become the most important language in India, and most read and written language of India. Officially English has the status of assistant language or the second language in India. It symbolize in Indians minds, better education, better culture and higher intellect. English is very important in systems like-legal, financial, educational, business in India. It serves as the communicator among Indians who speak different languages, and has enriched the Indian languages and literatures. All the Indian have freely borrowed words from English and have coined words and phrases on English models to enrich their vocabulary. It has also greatly contributed to the growth of knowledge in India, particularly in the field of science and technology, and has helped us in properly understanding the world situation. Just like other English speaking countries who have their own unique English words and phrases, the Indians too also have their own unique English words and phrases.
The Indian English language press uses many words extracted from Indian languages, especially from Hindi language. Even the Indians started using these changed words as curry and sari etc.

The Indians give importance to English because it is related to the fact that India was a British colony many years back. When the British started ruing India, they searched for Indian mediators who could help them to administer India. The British course of action was to create an Indian class who should think like the British as said “Indians in Blood and colour but English in taste, in opinions and morals and intellect”. But all this benefited India a lot. The system that was emphasized proved fruitful in more than one way. Presently English is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the mother tongue of more than 400 million people and another 220 million use it as their second language.

English language was a great unifying force in our struggle for independence. Our national leaders drew inspiration from the writings of the great thinkers like Ruskin, Carlye, Abraham Lincoln and others. It is also playing a very important role as the national link language for the purpose of inter-state correspondence and as the language of trade and commerce between different parts of the country. In the internationalism domain English is the most preferred option when people’s language differ, it is rightly regarded as the key to the store house of knowledge books on all branches of knowledge are available in English.

English language seems to have been recognized by all.

  1. As a national link language.
  2. As an international link language.
  3. As a library language.

Today, in fact it is hard, almost impossible to think of, without English language in India. English today represents the scientific knowledge, modernization and development, including the self-expressive or innovative function. The use of English language clearly increases in the more proper domains. Maximum people claim to speak English with friends and get introduced to each other most often in English; half of all personal letters too are written in English. Over 95% of the citizens are of the opinion that all children should learn English at school. Today the school India that emphasized English is considered better schools and same is the case at the university levels, even though there is a trend towards Indianisation. For most of those students, English is the first language and it is easier for them to communicate, including their mother tongues. English is instrumental: the results of the study reveal that English is perceived as a useful language to know mostly because of job opportunities. English is considered necessary would one what to have a job. It is really a language of the educated. English has definitely emerged as a variety of its own in the eyes of Indians themselves.

As we can see from the results of the study, English has become more nativized in the Indian environment: it seems that English now belongs to Indian’s linguistic repertoire in a very natural way. Millions of Indian people are trying to master this language. It can be demonstrated that those who have mastery in it are the ones who have taught themselves to READ-independently and widely and with understanding and pleasures.






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