When it comes to learning a language, our senses respond most effectively to stimuli from what is called the first and the unofficial school- home. While it is true in the words of Tahar Ben Jelloun that the universe can be expressed in words and syllables not belonging to our mother tongue, it is equally true that we are the most vulnerable ( or honest) version of ourselves when approached in our first language.
Although polyglots are up for grabs these days and among the most sought after tribes in the neoteric world, examination at a granular level reveals that such a trend is the outcome of a deal clinched with the monolinguals, who allow themselves to be caricatured for not stepping out of their comfort zones.
Before anyone starts questioning the need for bringing the plight of monolinguals to light, let me do the honors by telling you the truth of a fiasco in the recently declared results of examinations conducted by UP board. As per data released by UP education department, 18.3% of 28.75 lac test-takers from class X and 11.3% of 23.72 lac examinees from class XII have flunked in Hindi, which happens to be the matribhasha of 43.63% of the total population residing in 12 Indian states.
Multilingualism has become synonymous with wearing all the hats. Thanks to the voracious appetite for growth and development occasioned by cut-throat competition, people now face Hobson’s choice to broaden their horizons by exploring new cultures, and therefore, languages. But, slogging to learn a second language when you are miserably poor at your first one, is not a good idea.
Time is nigh for us to start embracing the mother tongue and getting rid of our obsession with ‘the other tongue’.