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Essay on “The Use of English Language” Complete Essay, Paragraph, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

The Use of English Language

Indians have been familiar with the English language since the start of British colonization a few centuries ago. As they felt that the knowledge of English would help them understand the progressive ideals of the West, as well as enjoy high status in their communities, many Indians, by learning the language, responded favorably to the British initiative to popularize English in administration and education.

Though. English played a prominent, though indirect role in the success of our independence movement, its status in the post-independence period continues to be a matter of dispute. While a majority of the people sees English as an unhealthy left-over of colonialism, which deserves to be discarded, the others recognize its potential to serve as a useful link language, both internally and internationally. Though the arguments of both sides are reasonably sound, neither is able to win the debate decisively. The dispute over the status of English, therefore, still continues, with the chances of its resolution rather remote.

Those opposing English base their argument on the premise that India, with its vast diversity, rich culture and more than a dozen healthy languages, does not have to import languages to link its people. Rather, they say that Hindi, which is the most popular and prevalent of India languages, should function as the link language. They fear that, if English enjoys importance, the native languages will lose popularity and pass into oblivion. Though the first argument is reasonable, the second is quite absurd. The fact, that at the time of Independence, all Indian languages commanded popularity and recognition, despite the supremacy English enjoyed until then, indicates that the popularity of English was not at the expense of Indian languages. Despite its soundness, the first argument may not be acceptable, because the people of South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, strongly oppose any move to make Hindi the link language of India. Quite amusingly, their preference is for a foreign language, English, rather than for the native Hindi.

Matching those opposing the adoption of English as the link language, in vigor, though not in strength, are those favoring the proposal. They suggest a neutral approach to all the native languages, by discouraging the adoption of any as the link language! They extend their argument in favor of English, on the grounds that, along with French and Spanish, it is the most widely spoken and understood language worldwide, and that it is in India’s best interests that English be encouraged. They further argue that India’s need for knowledge and expertise from abroad, to progress, makes the English language indispensable. However, these arguments, like those of the opponents of English, are only partially sound. It is a fact that many countries of the world, both developed and developing, where English is hardly understood, do progress and prosper. Moreover, knowledge of English has nothing to do with technical supremacy. Countries like France, Germany and Japan, and to a lesser extent, Russia and China, could develop technology and industrialize, without the help of English. The key to progress and development is initiative and hard work, not the knowledge of languages. We may extend this premise to say that international interaction is not the monopoly of any particular language. Since the merits and demerits of each of the opposing sides are more or less equally balanced, the debate on the issue of the use of English is frustratingly deadlocked.

In the Indian context, the attitude to English has a bearing on the mentality of the people. Our problem is that we continue to identify English with colonialism, and the oppression our country suffered under it. We fail to realize that English is just a language native to the British Isles, and spoken in much of North America and Southern Africa and the whole of Australia and New Zealand. Another of our problems is the attitude of those Indians that know English towards the others. Being a legacy of colonialism, English is considered by them as a symbol of supremacy, and, therefore, a tool for exploitation. It is this attitude that deserves to be opposed rather than the English language. We can solve most of our problems related to the use of English, if we rid ourselves of our mistaken prejudices. We should have a balanced and objective view of the English language, which should help us see it as any other language; as being capable of the main function of a language, i.e., to serve as a means of communication. Languages, being the media of communication, we have the responsibility to use them properly lest we should be more misunderstood. The onus should be on clear, simple and correct expressions than on flashy accents or cavalier usages. Rather than consider languages as objects of dispute, we should harness their potential to link peoples and societies.


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