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Nature and Scope of English Language in India

Communication plays a quintessential role in our lives. It helps us to express and share ideas, emotions and feelings. Languages are a means of communication as they help us in putting our thoughts into words. There are thousands of languages in the world today, but what makes English special is its dominance in all spheres of life. This has broadened the scope of the English language.

Nature and scope of english language in india

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about,” said Benjamin Lee Whorf. This highlights the role and necessity of language and communication in our lives.

Languages in India: India is a country of mixed cultures, races, religions and languages. A country with 22 major spoken languages, written in 13 different scripts, with over 720 dialects. India has Hindi and English as its official languages. It is interesting that India, a multilingual nation, is the third-largest English-speaking country after the U.S. and U.K. It is seemingly difficult to come across an educated person, who can speak any Indian language without having to use English words.

Second official language: Our verbal, non- verbal communication are full of English words, even if we are conversing in languages other than English. For example, the usage of Hindi and English as mixed codes, up to such an extent that they came to be known a new language altogether- ‘Hinglish’. English is used in different countries all over the world. It can hold the status of a native, second, official, foreign, or international communication language. In India, it is a second and official language.

The growing number of English-medium schools: English has become the ladder for social mobility. The ever- increasing demand is such that we see coaching centres and English-medium schools mushrooming in considerable numbers in all parts of the country. Though the language was a gift of the British as they bought it for our country, it is quite evident that it has stayed with us to date. Indians hold the language in high regard, and its position in our minds is respectable. It is a ‘must-know’ language in the country with firm roots in all offices, professions, societies, and social, economic and even political structures.

We hold English as a prerequisite not only for economic prosperity but also for social value. People belonging to the upper and middle classes want their children to be imparted with the best of education, for which they consider English medium a mandate. Whereas, the lower class people follow the models set by the upper and middle classes. This has resulted in a tremendous growth of English-medium schools all over India.

According to the author and Professor Timothy J. Scrase, “English is not only important in getting a better job; it is everywhere in social interaction. If you can’t speak it, you are a nobody.” This makes very clear the prestigious position the language holds in our country. People belonging to different language groups use English for interpersonal communication. Talking of the nature and scope of the English language, below are a few points to explore.

  • Researches show that employees with English language communication skills have a better scope and progress faster in companies. It is also helpful to perform targeted tasks with ease.

  • English also dominates business, publication and media is our country. Books and media are critical as they are the primary source of education and information.

  • Discussing the dominance of English language in third-world book publication, Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, declare that half of the book titles in India are published in English.

  • Several international journals are published in English. Additionally, one-third of the books all over the world are published in this language.

  • Similarly, popular newspapers, news channels, journals, and magazines in India are in English. Media thus becomes an essential source of learning and improving English.

  • The growth and spread of English in India have given a new dimension to careers in the field of writing and teaching the language. It has provided new and exciting opportunities to people and has increased scope in English as a career.

  • More and more people take up jobs of interpreters and translators. Other roles include writers, professors in English Literature etc.

  • Apart from having a career in English, it is the language used that’s officially in India, which answers why we need to learn English. It aids and facilitates our personality development and helps us to perform better at work.

Why do we need to learn English?

There are several reasons to learn English as a second language. It is, in fact, one of the most learned foreign languages in the world.

  • In this world of globalisation, English is the dominant language of trade and commerce. It is also the language of news and information, higher education and research.

  • There are roughly 378 million native speakers and 743 million non-native English speakers.

  • It is used for communication in most professions of the world, and it has achieved the status of a global language in the economic context.

  • English has this special status of all languages of the world. It is the language that moves with us everywhere we go.

  • When we are at home, we converse in English; we go to school, we are told to talk in English and are also taught in English. Later, we move to university and then to our professional lives and so on.

  • Timothy J. Scrase comments on the snowballing popularity of the language, “English is an international language. You feel humiliated if you can’t speak English. People think you are dumb.”

Now that sounds harsh, but it is indeed true. The demand for English at all levels in the society that we live in has increased. Anyone who is not well-acquainted with the English language is indeed looked down upon. This pretty much clears all doubts about why we learn English. It not only prepares us for a career in today’s world but also helps us to remain steady and confident of ourselves.

The scope of English is such that you pick one field of study or career, and it requires the language. Be it science, commerce, business, tourism, politics, media, internet, google, computers, or any other area of work or study, English is a must. It is the language that has spread most extensively throughout the world. It has been dominating all international business, education and communication.

The sole fact that it is a global language, it is recognised, understood and used globally. English could be the universal language of say 50 people in a group belonging to different parts of the world, having different mother tongues. Thus, it connects people from different linguistic backgrounds and cultures.

Few Spoken English Tips

Below are a few tips to follow to boost your English language learning process.

Think in English: One of the most effective and useful spoken English tips is to ‘think’ in English. Yes, when we say that thinking in a language improves it, we mean to lessen the burden of translation. For instance, A is a native Hindi speaker, and every time he talks in English, he first thinks in Hindi on what he wants to say. Then, translates it into English in his mind, and then finally speaks in English. Now, this is a tedious task to perform.

Even people fluent in many languages face difficulty in switching between languages. So the solution is to think in English, as doing this makes speaking in the communication more comfortable and fluent.

Talk in English: Another tip for improved English language skills is to use English as often as possible when you talk. This includes reading aloud since it makes you more comfortable with the language.  Using a mirror while speaking is also an excellent exercise to watch facial expressions and body language. This helps us increase our level of confidence.

The thing that we observe while learning how to ‘speak’ any language is that fluency is of utmost importance. What matters more is to speak fluently, even if not always correctly. The trick is never to stop or stammer, as it makes you seem more confident, more comfortable while speaking.

Listen to English: Listen to the audio, watch videos, shows and channels in English and try to repeat parts of it that you like. Watch that part repeatedly and speak it while trying to match the speed and tone. Practising, listening and repeating are the best ways to increase fluency in a language. Listening to songs in English and singing along is a great way to practice! Trying to learn phrases and sayings besides English words, is another tip for better spoken English. It is only because the more words you try to pronounce and speak, the better you will be able to express.

Join English classes: To learn English from scratch is challenging. Especially learning English grammar can be nerve-racking for beginners. Thus, you can accelerate your learning process with the help of English language teachers.

To check your progress, what you can also do is pick stories in your language and try to tell them in English. This way, you can assess your spoken English and spot where you go wrong. Learning English tough, but considering the ever-growing benefits of this language, it is definitely worth it.

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