The First language

A short post, which is more of a question for all of you. I’ve read many articles on the growing influence and English-nisation of education around the world, so much so that many native languages are on the verge of extinction. More often than not I see parents, especially in metros, conversing with their kids in English. Whatever happened to our so-called mother tongues? Do we have fond memories of our grandmothers and mothers singing lullabys to us or telling us stories in our native language or English? If at home we do not take the initiative to make our child follow and understand our roots and language, where else would (s)he learn it? English is the first language in every English medium school; hence the child can be relied upon to grasp it with little difficulty. 
Doesn’t it become our collective responsibility then to safeguard our language and our culture, or is it too down-class to use your mother tongue at all?

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22 thoughts on “The First language

  1. @Titaxy: My mother never spoke with us in her native language and I still complain to her about that…now she's making sure that my son learns it..I can speak but I guess he'll be better than me..

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  2. Native languages are quite important to be passed on, I feel… Its like some treasure, with all the proverbs, anecdotes, rhymes, stories…I don't see why should native languages not be taught to the future generations, it can only make them richer in knowledge…

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  3. It's our mother tongue and we should be proud of using it :DOur attitude should be guided by what we feel for things inside, love it portray it. Do not be deterred by 'what the world might think about us'.

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  4. @CB: That's what I meant to say…people are so bothered about what others night feel that they are ready to compromise on such an important thing…being proud of our roots and heritage is not just expected but it is also our duty.

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  5. very apt qtn Varsha, … Neil's default lang is Hindi..whenever he speaks he speaks in Hindi…with the people who come frm non HIndi states…its difficult for them to teach all the two languages simultaneously to their children…Often i scold him for nt speaking in marathi…coz its his first lang..and he is so sweet to respond me in marathi…says…aai hindi baher boltat..hai na….i dnt have any other choice but to smile….but yes with this English-nisation ..i m afraid that where will our national or mother lang will go…but i m sure if the parents make their mind .then children will be guided at the right path…i also heard in one reality show that once a girl was speaking in english ..and she also revealed that she was told that hindi should only be spoken with maids…..wat is this…???

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  6. I agree with this Varsh! In our house we all speak Tamil, though we also speak in Hindi and English as the situation demands. Since I studied in a Tamil school both at Nagpur and Mumbai, I learnt it as third language after English and Hindi! I have seen kids in Delhi speak only in English or Hindi even when you speak to them in Tamil. The mothers apologetically say, "He can understand what you are saying but can't reply in Tamil. Why, why?

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  7. of course it's parent's responsibility to educate the child on the mother tongue..unless we take the initiative our next generation will surely not know Marathi or any other regional language !Was just discussing this with H few days back..we've an aunt in the UK and her son was born there..since then he has been talking only in English and no other language..he is 12 years old and just knows that our mother tongue is Marathi..that's that ! Another aunt who lives in the US has a son who also was born there..but he speaks very nice Marathi and English as well..so it's not about where you live it's about what you teach your children !

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  8. Short and cryptic…but nevertheless to the point.In my case I suppose my English is literally my mother tongue. My Tamil comes a close second.I never lived in Tamil Nadu, and was brought up here in Maharashtra all my life. I suppose the region matters a great deal. Those brought up in the region of their Mother tongue do have a good grasp of the language. The metro cities on the other hand being multi cultural, there is an erosion of the mother tongue, to make way for English, which can be understood by everyone!!

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  9. Every parent realizes about striking the balance. That is making the child realize the importance of mother tongue and also English! Some succeed. Some do not!

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  10. @rohini: That girl deserved one tight slap on her face!! Ofcourse all it takes is some initiative on us parents' part so kids remain attached with our language.

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  11. @zephyr: Exactly…sadly I accept I belonged to the same league some time back. I could understand Marwari but couldnt speak so well. I made an extra effort and learned it! And am sure A Jr would pick it up too πŸ™‚

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  12. @Nu: Very apt examples…both of them. If parents want the kids will definitely learn their mother tongue. All one has to do is convince the raw mind that its as necessary as loving Mom and Dad. Wouldnt they learn it then?

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  13. @Vyazz: Your surrounding does have a bearing on your language. I speak much better Marathi (I can pass on for a native, easily) than I can speak Marwari. I believe one has to decide his preferences. English is understood by everyone, but your mother tongue can serve as a bonding thing in your family.

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  14. @Nona: True…some succeed and some do not…but most important is to try and strike a balance. This responsibility lies wholly on them.Thanks for dropping by…Welcome here πŸ™‚

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  15. I dont agree when you say that when you say that we are forgetting our mothertongue. English is a global language, and there is no harm in speaking it. even if a mother talks in english to her son, its only so that kid learns it better.

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  16. @Vineet: I do not have anything against the language, nor do I advocate people going completely 'regional'. All I want to say is that the influence shouldn't be as strong as to curb our own tongue. Correcting is one thing, but communicating in only English is, not healthy.

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  17. Think of me…tamilian, born in delhi, brought up in UP, currently in haryana…married to a telugite, who was born in Jamshedpur, brought up in Ranchi? :DWhat language will I teach my kids? πŸ˜€

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