Is there any law on earth which may punish you for your language errors whatsoever and wheresoever? Think about it!
I am sure that there is no law in any part of the world to take legal action against you if you are found to be linguistically and grammatically incorrect. It stands to reason that you are at liberty to communicate to the world irrespective of your grammatical skills to the extent you have.
Friends! Language skills are a comparative term, not an absolute term unlike Mathematics where two plus two is equal to four is the only and definitive answer. I claim to know a bit more of English than you do. However, somebody else may and can have more knowledge of the English language than me. Hence, language skill is always a comparative term.
Many of the language learners often hesitate either to speak or write something thinking that they may be grammatically wrong. That they may be laughed at! This is common prevailing psychology, which is a very wrong thing. It goes without saying that such a thought process certainly needs revisiting.
Fear of speaking is a sort of inhibition, not a prohibition at all. You cannot be prosecuted for making any faux pas in speaking any language. You cannot be impeached for any syntactical, morphological, phonological or grammatical mistakes that you may make. There is no prohibition on part of the government or society to communicate something grammatically incorrect. No prohibitory order at all!
Hence, take it from me that you should get a leg up and express yourself. Lo! There is a proverb, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Your communication is bound to be as good as you want to, provided that you start a linguistic journey now, with a firm belief in the saying that it’s now or never. Get yourself going, and see how it works. There is no denying that error-making is a normal process of learning a language.
Mind you, when a toddler begins to walk, they often fall. It is not possible that the toddler will master the art of walking first and then walk smoothly without ever falling. Though ‘practice makes perfect’ is an age-old saying, yet it is all time relevant.
Once you make up your mind of communicating something in English, just begin it without a second thought. After a certain amount of time, you will find that you stand as error-free as you would be expected. So what is an error-free language?
There is a standard that I should say, “I am working” not “I is working” where the use of “is” is a mistake, so non-standard. To begin with, you may form wrong sentences, possibly grammatically incorrect. However, with practice, you will develop a language sense which will pave the way for the grammatically correct expressions. Thus, you will reach the standard of language that is acceptable worldwide. In due course, you will be fluent in speaking, or writing, with sincere efforts.
Language learning has four aspects: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The first two, listening and reading are inputs for the output of speaking and writing. Hence, it is advisable for you to do a lot of listening and reading in English, if you are interested in this language. Having said that, you need to surround yourself with the English environment and immerse yourself in it to reap the harvest.
In the Indian context, many of us are multilingual. Multilingualism has its advantage which I’ve already explained before.
So, if you already know a language and now you have started learning the English language, you are brainy and perfectly alright from all angles. This is an excellent step on your part, as English sets a stepping stone to your overall growth. Many students complain of mental block saying that they do not get the right words at the time of speaking or writing something. They begin to refer themselves to a psychological block, which is ostensibly self-censorship and it is counterproductive. Such a thought process must be nipped in the bud.
Moreover, psycho-linguistics says that it is natural for one to fumble for words while learning the second language, or for that matter the English language in the beginning. Once you have acquired the skills, you are fairly good at recalling words as and when you need them. Therefore, fumbling while speaking a new language cannot and should not be equated with a sign of mental illness.
The law does not prevent you from learning English or speaking even incorrectly. Even a legal body does not pose any questions if you are grammatically incorrect or erroneous. Nobody can drag you through the courts of law for not adhering well to the rules of grammar. There is no law to penalise you for any language errors.
Note: this article was first published here.