That is a question most of us tend to ask ourselves or others.
Language is “the infinite use of finite means.” – Wilhelm von Humboldt
We have great literature in our native languages, it helps us talk to, and understand each other and it is vital that we speak it (especially for smaller, endangered language communities) so that it is preserved in some form in the future. So why should we speak English?
The global language was brought to our land along with their original speakers, about 400 years ago. We know the rest of that story, but can you imagine the Indian subcontinent before that time? How were people to learn any of our 1000+ languages just to have a conversation with someone from outside the state? Like the Railways, the English language stayed on long after they left, in a less concrete and far more profound way.
The world is built around an idea of convenience, be it in work, travel, communication, health, or any other aspect of life. English plays a pivotal role not just in communication but also helps foster these paths that make lives better.
An item can have multiple names or attributes in one language, but these names may not be mutually recognisable by one another. In the Malayalam language, ‘marichini’, ‘kolli’, ‘cheeni’ and ‘kappa’ all refer to the English ‘tapioca’. In a standard setting, people tend to use English alternatives to address things that are vernacularly named differently in different areas. A typical example of a standard setup is the Media. Newspapers need to have the non-dialectal, standard language so that all its readers can understand the same way.
Complex expressions in other languages could be simplified in English without losing the meaning. While a certain aesthetic sense may be lost in translation for some cases due to cultural incongruity, English retains the universals of any language because English in itself contains several-hundred-word borrowings and grammar influences from other languages.
A lot of things used universally may or may not have vernacular names, but their English equivalents are equally acceptable in a language. Plastic, Computer, Shoes, Names of primary colours, Switch, Fridge, Fan, Machine, News, Bus, Current, etc. are global words derived from English roots.
One might have had to learn basic phrases in a language of the place that they’re travelling to, to get around. These days one can just book a flight and move instantaneously as there must be atleast a few, if not many people who speak English anywhere around the globe.
In a corporate workplace, or any other, for that matter, speaking good English is essential for your job development. In meetings and presentations, and while conveying ideas to your boss, getting your point across is important. Most offices have a cosmopolitan setting, where people are multilingual and prefer English as a common medium. In BPOs, Marketing, and PR offices, speaking good English will uplift your career.
These days, Social Media has translation and typing in multiple languages but posting an update on English fetches maximum audience. It also lets one interact with any person across the world.
Education pulls in students from all walks of life. It is important that they stick together and understand each other, irrespective of their social, cultural and economic diversities. Learning English comes a long way in the learning and bonding process.
Whether you’ve dreamt of living in New York City or London or Sydney or Toronto, you’re going to need to speak English. Moving to a first-world country not only legally requires you to pass an English fluency test, but it is also challenging to get around with ease without speaking good English.
Now that you know why should we speak English, but are you learning English the right way? Find out.