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INDIA

Language Research

4. Minority groups: To what extent are minority groups in this country disadvantaged by their language?

This question could be modified for India to “pro's and con's of the languages spoken in India and their impact on the people living in the country”.

Many questions arise while thinking about a specific language in India. What language should be used for inter-State communications? What language or languages will be used by the Central Government for official purposes? What language would be the most appropriate as the medium of instruction in schools? How many languages should a student learn in school and at what stage?.........

EDUCATION

It has now been accepted that the medium of instruction in schools should be the regional language. Thus, the language of instruction shall be Malayalam in Kerala, Telugu in Andhra Pradesh, Hindi in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, Oriya in Orissa and so on.

Some of the problems connected with moving from one state to another (inter-state mobility is even higher at the university level), are solved by English-medium schools these days. If universities in each State adopted the regional language as their medium of instruction, it would severely restrict the inter-state mobility of both students and teachers.

At present, the three-language formula is the accepted format in schools. The student learns the local language, English and Hindi (if he or she is from outside the Hindi belt). All three languages that the student has to learn are therefore pre-determined. The student is then learning three languages, but if he has an inclination to learn a specific language he has to study a fourth language. This example illustrates the burden of language study in the schools of present-day India.

ADMINISTRATION

The problem of communication between State Governments still remains. At present, the Government of each State is in the process of adopting the regional language as the medium for administrative purposes. Then the need for a suitable language for inter-State communication arises. Moreover, the Central Government shall have to adopt a particular language for its own official work.

There is still the problem of communication between the States and the central government and in turn the people all over the country. What language, for instance, shall the Central Government use for communication with a person living in Orissa? What language should the Tamil Nadu Government use for communication with a business firm established in Calcutta? At present, English is used as the medium for inter-governmental and inter-regional communication solving most of these problems. Eventually English will be replaced as the pre-eminent language, most likely by Hindi but Sanskrit is also competing for this status on a national level.

ENGLISH

PRO'S:

  • Already plays an important role in the society
  • It is neutral for use between different regions in the country
  • It is a highly developed language with a rich vocabulary
  • The results of the academic research done in India have been historically published in English

CON'S:

  • English is a foreign language carrying the onus of colonialism

HINDI

PRO'S:

  • It is the most popular Indian language

CON'S:

  • The scientific and general literature is quite inferior in comparison with English
  • It is not neutral for use between regions
  • Potential disadvantages for non-Hindi speakers

SANSKRIT

PRO'S:

  • It is an Indian language
  • It has a very rich literature
  • It is neutral for use between regions
  • Was used as a linking language among scholars prior to English

CON'S:

  • It is not a popular language
  • It is considered to be difficult

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