What is language ?

Language is not sounds, nor meaning; it is what connects the two in regular ways.  Language uses sounds to communicate meaning.

Many people feel that words carry meaning; that words and what they convey are inseparable.  One of Kalidas’ verses reads as follows:

Vaagarthaaviva  samprukto  vaagarthapratipattaye’

jata:pitarauvande  Paarvatii  Parameshvarau

Well, words are at best vehicles to convey meaning; but they are not the meaning.  Each language uses its own words, and the choice is purely arbitrary. Language is a highly organized network of sounds, clusters of sounds, words and phrases.  Each system is complete by itself. And it gives birth to a new language. when we think  about a language, English comes first in our mind, a language  ,a pathway of global communication and global access to knowledge.

English language is becoming the world’s language: the language of the internet, of business, of international flight. It is not exaggeration to say that English is the pathway of global communication and global access for getting relevant knowledge. English has become the vehicle for thousands millions of people of all countries to connect with each other, in countless ways. Indeed, English is much more than a language: it is a bridge across borders and cultures, a source of unity in a rapidly changing world. English does not make us all the same – nor should it, for we honor who we distinctly are. But it makes possible for us to speak to each other and to develop better understand with each other.

English language is a powerful force not just for economics, business and trade, but for mutual respect and progress. It is also becoming the common future of human commerce and communication. I consider, English is the best tool to provide good opportunity for learner to learn. Learning and teaching English is very near to my soul. So giving education in English will have a multiplying effect. Teaching English right from standard I does not necessarily mean neglecting our own languages. Let us remember what Macaulay himself had said and  let us remember an ancient Chinese proverb which says: “If you want to think one year ahead, plant rice. “If you want to think 10 years ahead, plant trees”, but if you want to think 100 years ahead, give education to people.

Education brings social transformation; social transformation leads to economic empowerment, which in turn leads to political power, a sequence worth remembering by state governments when they lay down archaic rules in the field of knowledge. Today, the world has become a global village and English has played an important role to bring people from different parts of the world closer to each other
compared to other languages. Due to the imperialism of the British Empire, all the countries have felt convenience to adopt English as the common language of communication in different spheres of life. So, English continues to play the role of a link language and is the language of wider communication. Most educated Indians communicate with one another in English rather than in an Indian language, even if
they have one or more in common. It is thus also a power language and a language of the Indian elite.

English continues to be the language of business, commerce, administration, the law and higher education – this in spite of official efforts to promote Indian languages in all areas. The national language, Hindi, is particularly un­acceptable in the South of India, where its promotion was seen as an imposition on a region which speaks Dravidian languages such as Tamil or Malayalam (in Kerala) as opposed to Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi.

In such a situation, English continues to play the role of a link language and is the language of wider communication. Most educated Indians communicate with one another in English rather than in an Indian language, even if they have one or more in common. It is thus also a language of power and a language of the Indian elite society. The elite society in India sends their children to English-medium schools and even the poorest of the poor aspire to send their children there too, since English is seen as a language that provides upward economic and social mobility.

The global spread of English has generated varying perspectives on the nature and functions of its acculturated varieties. Undoubtedly, the “glossography” of English in the present world is both qualitatively and quantitatively unprecedented ( Nayar, 1994).  Annamalai, 2004; Phan Le Ha, 2005) is replete with a whole bunch of expressions to describe the diffusion and nativization of English: pluralisation, diversification, globalization, internationalization, universalization; hybridization, localization, indigenization; decolonization, dehegemonization, liberation of the English language, and so on.

In this regard, it is worth considering the questions Horibe (2000) and McArthur (2004) respectively raise: “Is English Cinderella, a kidnapped or adopted child, or Godzilla?” and “Is it world English or international English or global English, and does it matter?” Obviously, none of the labels listed above is wholly satisfactory and neutral. Each nomenclature has its limitations and its specific value, and serves a chosen purpose. Different scholars select different designations to support the perspective they adopt. Each label promotes its own construct, clusters of presuppositions, concepts and approaches that often determine the direction and type of exploration and conclusion. These nomenclatures mould our perceptions and generate world-views and images. Some of these labels connote a patronizing attitude and suggest a mono-centric approach, whereas others imply liberation from bondage and indicate a pluralistic approach. Strong compulsions have motivated scholars to rename the language. Two such compulsions are a need to respond to the postcolonial ambiguity about the globalization of English and a desire to shape a new pedagogical ideology (see Erling 2005).

In other words, it has generally been the Centre which has developed new technologies. Unsurprisingly, the associated terminology is in English. ….where industrialization and modernization have been chosen the relative achievement of those objectives is significantly tied to the availability of English because, for better or for worse, English is the language of science and technology. (Kaplan, 1987:144). In other words, he views access to English as a concomitant factor for successful modernization. They agree that learning English is neither an indication of Westernization nor entails an imitation and admiration of Western cultural values. (Al-Haq and Smadi, 1996: 313).

English language is a merely a language. Indian people studies and learns it as a second language at mass level. Nearly 20 thousands of CBSE affiliated and other different board schools promote English Language as the main language in pedagogical perspectives. We love to study each and every thing available in English language.

Nowadays our life heavily depends on virtual and materialistic world. English language provides a common platform for each and every individual in the society. It is nice to hear from illiterate people using a number of English words in day to day life. Pizza delivery man speaks fluent English with his customer. English language provides a big platform for a common man to members of elite society. English language provides simple solution to every walk of life. It does not matter, if we consider it a foreign language or second language. English language is a language of common man.

Rajeev Ranjan

Indian Educationist