The New Language Landscape
In the article “The New Language Landscape”, Reshama Krishnamurthy Sharma describes an increasingly common phenomenon that Indians are conforming to the trend of speaking English while curtailing the use of local languages. The essay indicates that English is becoming a global language that is easily adopted in many homes, cities and schools. Moreover, parents prefer to teach their children English due to many different reasons. In this essay, Sharma tries to inform her readers that children are losing touch with their native languages as English turn out to be the single spoken dialect. She effectively achieves her purpose by using the technique of rhetorical question and examples of diverse opinions from different people.
One of the crucial factors that make the whole essay more informative for readers is the use of rhetorical questions. For instance, Sharma asks, “Fifty years down the line, will we be surprised if English becomes the single spoken language and kids go to special schools to learn India’s regional languages?”(Sharma 166). This question mentions the main idea of the entire article that if English will become a dominant language in India. By using such open-ended questions without giving answer at the end of the article, Sharma leaves some spaces for readers to imagine and think more deeply about the main idea, which makes the essay more impressive and informative. What’s more, the author uses hypophora, another kind of rhetorical question, which gives an answer to the question directly: “Has English become the new mother tongue in many homes? Given the environments in which Gen X children are growing up, the answer seems to be “yes” (Sharma 165). This question discusses the same concerns about the development of English among Indian children. By giving the answer “yes”, Sharma emphasizes her main point that the children are losing touch with their regional languages.
Sharma also gives insights to some of the reasons that make most parents, use English as the main medium of communication in their homes. The first justification that he gives is that of increased inter-regional marriages. One can easily say that today the world is a global village. People in various cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, and with diverse origins are found all over the world. Today, it is easier to find an Indian living an American Citizen and an American doing the same in India. As people interact, they appreciate that they are from different cultures and to understand one another in a better way people may develop a micro-culture; people understand each other and appreciate their differences. For these reasons, most people speak English to enhance their communication and interactions with people from different cultures. Sharma gives the example of Shiril Pinto who is in a mixed marriage, she says that she chooses to speak English to her 3 year old child because, that is the easiest way they can communicate in the family (Sharma 165). She says that she has not been able to learn her husband’s native language and her husband also has not been able to learn her native language, therefore, for her child English remains the only language for communication because she also she and her husband also communicate through the same language.
Another reason why parents, prefer to make their children speak is due to the is due to the globalization of education. The main mode of instruction in various schools in the world is through English, most children have to know English at a very tender age so that they can cope with the others in school. Sharma argues “the presence of international schools and also the strict code in the regular schools has also pushed English to be the main mode of communication even in home” (Sharma 166)This means that Children are made to understand English as a very basic language for their communication. In some schools, children are punished for speaking their mother tongue. This means that, a child can easily interpret the punishment to mean that; mother tongue is a bad thing, such children are not likely to speak their native languages even as adults.
Sharma also argues that most of the careers that people pursue today, stress so much on the use of English the first language, at the place of work, this has made most people prefer English as the main language. This makes parents prefer teaching their children English as the basic language for communication. As Sharma puts it, “…parents who speak to their in English are contented and they view English as a global language…” (Sharma 166). Parents also speak English to their Children at a very tender age to make it easier for them to communicate with others in, do well in examinations, understand teachers and also to make them pass in the interviews. “According to Nandimi Ashok, who teaches at a pre-school, parents often find the process of interview at Kindergarten hard for the Children. The parents therefore prefer speaking English to their Children so as to avoid such problems (Sharma 166).
In conclusion, Sharma’s claims prove to be valid, there is a growing rate at which people are ignoring their native languages and focusing on English which as seen as the Global language. This essay proves informative and urges people to focus also on the native languages. Since the concerns raised by Sharma can be proven to be valid, it is important that people focus also on native languages because it will not feel right if Indians have to go to school to learn their native languages in school in the next fifty years.