Why Do Malayalees Struggle With English-Some Tips to Improve
Some Helpful Videos to Speak Good English
Malayalees (The people of Kerala in the Southern part of India) are smart though not hardworking. They learn languages easily. Millions of Keralites or Malayalees are working outside Kerala and millions outside India. They learn the language of the land they live in easily and communicate with the local people fluently. But when it comes to English, the Keralites do so badly. Why? A lot of reasons can be attributed for this failure. Let’s examine.
Though Kerala has 100% literacy and a decent educational set up, they are unable to speak fluent English. At the same time, people from other states of India such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, to cite a few, speak good English. The basic reason for this ‘tragedy’ is the lack of a metro or cosmopolitan culture in Kerala. The cosmopolitan atmosphere of big cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Chandigarh and Delhi helps or forces the people of these cities to learn and use good English. Moreover, these cities have a thick population of people from all places of the country. Naturally, they all have different languages and so to communicate with each other they need a common language like Hindi or English. Living in a metro city, thus naturally helps one to learn English quickly. They are naturally learning English because of the situation or compulsion.
Kerala, sadly, has no such cosmopolitan life here. The Keralites mostly live and engage with their own people, that is Malayalees. But there is some change in the scenario now with the large influx of migrant people to Kerala from other states. Most of the migrants are from the North Eastern states. But here too English won’t help as these people are mostly illiterate and don’t know English. Though their mother tongues are different, they use Hindi widely.
Another factor which hinders Malayalee’s English proficiency is their own negative attitude. Malayalees, though well-educated people are very conservative, may be the most conservative society in India. This conservatism can well be seen in their dress code and body language. They are shy to speak English at public places for fear of lack of fluency. Whenever one tries, he is not encouraged by others. They reply in Malayalam and sometimes even mock those who converse in English.
Similarly, when one reads an English book or paper in a train or bus, he is being watched as a strange man or as if one just descended from an alien world. They have a wrong notion that this is to ‘impress’ others that the fellow reads an English book. It sometimes dissuades one from reading English books or dailies at public places.
- How I Tamed English Language
Some tips to improve your knowledge in English. It also helps you how to write in English beautifully. Your confidence level also goes high when you are fluent in English. Read these tips here.
What we need is a strong usage of English as far as possible. Since Malayalam is our mother tongue, we need not put much effort to excel in the language. Just with a high school level of education, we can become experts in Malayalam. That is not the case with English, which is a foreign language and is very different from Indian languages.
We need to read more, write more and converse more in English. The key point is ensuring maximum ‘application’ of English in everyday life. What can we do to apply the maximum usage of the language? Plenty of avenues and options are available. Some drills I shall suggest here for easy learning of English.
Daily read at least one English paper. The Hindu, The New Indian Express, The Times of India and Deccan Chronicle, whatever it may be. make it sure you read it daily.
Intensify your reading on weekends. All newspapers carry rich contents on Sundays. Apart from the news, you get good features, travel tips, health tips, religious discourse, etc on the weekend editions. So read at least two News Papers on Sundays. I recommend Hindu and Indian Express as it is the best choice available.
Start writing a diary every day. Change your writing to English. In the initial days, you will have difficulty. Forget it, you will soon find a style and flow, which may even surprise you later. Within one or two years time, you can improve your writing skill tremendously. (Tested successfully by myself).
Listen to a program in English from TV. Listening to English programs on TV allows you to hear good English and it does improve your pronunciation and speaking capacity.
Attend (just hear) an English news bulletin daily from Radio or TV. Times Now and BBC are the best choices. Doing so can help correct bad pronunciation.
Try to write letters to your friends in English. You need not send the letters, just write them. Why not try writing some ‘mock’ love letters? Let your imagination fly high. By doing so, ideas will flow and so will your fluency.
Mingle with people who are good at speaking English.
Be a regular visitor to your local library. You should choose good English fiction and periodicals. The Women's Era and The Reader's Digest are wonderful options.
Avoid the conservative Malayali approach (like criticizing one who reads English books while on travel).
Always keep a book handy (fiction or nonfiction) whenever you travel.
Travel time, as well as some waiting moments (like a queue), can be best used by reading books. It helps with two things. It helps you get rid of the boredom as well improving your language skills.
We Malayalees need to be bold, confident and must try to use an elite language like English neatly and beautifully as far as possible. Nothing is impossible. But you have to plan and work accordingly. Then, hurry and polish your language skill. Please do leave your comments/suggestions after reading this post, which may help me to give you more action plans in the coming days.
© 2015 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth