Ummm, I don’t know how often have I felt intimidated by wrong grammar. You may think of those times, yes those golden moments, when I literally feel so worthless to have discovered silly grammatical errors. And I’m a Literature student.
Let me make it clear. Literature does not teach you grammar. Instead, it is expected of a Literature student to have thorough prior knowledge of grammar. But how often do expectations meet reality?
All the Literature dons around us think of their fellow human beings as well-versed in grammar. But often, they do not realise that we don’t. We are not grammar dons. We are ordinary human beings, milord!
I have never liked doing grammar. Be it English grammar or Bangla grammar. Grammar is all about rules and I am very bad with rules. Not that I used to get poor marks in grammar, but the fact is my verb never agrees with its subject. Similarly, my preposition lives somewhere in a prelapsarian world. My clause and phrasal verbs never fall into place.
Considering all these limitations, my bad grammar gives me near to absolute heart attacks in those moments when I think I have erred in grammar usage. Moreover, I live in constant fear of grammatical errors, reinforced by the fact that I have a supposedly sound English education.
Now the question is, why do I feel so awkward with grammatical errors? Is it that I speak grammatically correct Bangla? Not at all. I myself don’t know how wrong the Bangla I speak is. But when it comes to English, the scenario changes altogether. The very fact that we are learning English, i.e. our coloniser’s language, colours our perspective.
As a language, English is strange. It has various highs and lows, but at least it is easier than French, to say the least. We are yet to be free from the typical colonised mindset of speaking “correct” English and subsequently prove our worth to our “superior Masters”.
And yes, I also silently mock someone speaking incorrect English, knowing very well that I too once passed through that phase. That’s what learning our coloniser’s language does to us.
Thank you for reading my article all through and silently laughing at my supposed grammatical errors. I know I err. But I try to make my language perfect every day.