Future of English Language in India
Although English has got much importance in countries like India, it is just a language for higher education and written communication in Private Sector. Only a small percentage of people like to talk in English. People speak in their mother tongue or in a link language like Hindi.
States in India were created on linguistic base. India is a multilingual country. There are 22 regional languages which are official languages of the specific states, while Hindi is the official language of Central Government and 14 states and Union Territories. Each state and Union Territory prefers to use the language of people in written and spoken form for everything. May it be Government, Administration, Municipal Corporations, Public Sector, Judiciary, Media, Entertainment, Mass Communication, Politics, Religion etc.
Electronic and print media is dominated by Hindi and regional languages, and even if a small portion of people 'Read' English Newspapers, they do not discuss what they read in English, but in their own language or link language like Hindi.
There is a craze of English Medium schools all over India, and the students learn in English medium but most of them speak in their mother tongue or Hindi in schools with their friends. Even after they become graduates and find jobs or start their own business, English never comes a priority language for them.
Although English has become third or second language for a number of people, it never becomes mother tongue.
The main reason of English becoming a 'Written' language in India is that there are over two dozens regional languages and they are written in different script. India is lacking a common script for communication. The Latin (also called as Roman) script, in which English is written fulfills the necessity of common script. But language and script are two different things. As we know, there are several languages in Europe but they have a common script. So non-English countries in Europe do not need English as their 'written' language.
English will remain important written language until there is no common alphabets for various regional languages in India. But this language will never become first language for spoken communication for a large portion of the population.
Another notable thing is that English in India is changing slowly and being modified by people. The syntax and grammar also changing. As there is American English, or Australian English, there is now Indian English. Further Indian English can be divided in regional dialects, i.e. Punjabi English, Tamil English, Hindustani English, Bengali English and so on.
Future of English in India also depends on its future in America and on international level. If English language declines in International usage, or in United States, the importance of this language will go down.
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© 2011 Mahaveer Sanglikar
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