Our obsession with perfecting English is growing like a hideous monster. Suddenly, a good command over the language has become a pre requisite for securing jobs and doing well in life. Suddenly, an individual‚Äôs social standing is determined by how well he knows his grammar. It‚Äôs kinda strange to see people drift away their focus from acquiring skills to an unhealthy obsession with mastering the language. We keep forgetting that just a marginal proportion gets the privilege to attend English medium schools. ¬†A much lower percentage has English as their mother tongue. It‚Äôs unacceptable to judge a person‚Äôs skill set on the basis of their fluency in the language.¬† The growing population of ‚Äúgrammar nazi‚Äôs‚Äù or ‚Äúgrammar snobs‚Äù makes it quite evident that it‚Äôs either good English or go home.
A lot of us have become self-proclaimed perfectionists who take pride in scoffing about theres and theirs. What we keep forgetting is that no one bestowed on us the right to mock people for their pronunciation or holds them in high esteem for their perfect enunciation. It‚Äôs ridiculous to watch people publicly rectify someone‚Äôs grammar or pronunciation. At the end of the day, it‚Äôs just a language. ¬†English is not our natural language. It has just assumed that title in the recent years. For a major part of the population, this is an acquired skill. I mean we don‚Äôt dismiss people‚Äôs ideas if they don‚Äôt know Hindi, then why give English an elevated status.
I get it, globalization has somewhat made English indispensable for climbing the success ladder. However, this shouldn‚Äôt be forgotten that we come from a country whose mother tongue is not English. Publicly ridiculing an individual for their typos or mispronunciation is not always in their best interest. I think I would feel humiliated even if Mrs Sharma (my English professor) did this to me. Being rectified in public is that last thing we wanna be a part of.
Judging a writer for poor English is kind of understandable. However, laughing off a charted accountant for not meeting your expectations of the language speaks of language elitism. An engineer should be appreciated for his knowledge of machines instead of being mocked for his inability to communicate well in English. Knowing a language better than others, in no sense, makes you superior to them. ¬†Publicly disgracing someone for few bumps in their writing is highly condescending. I think it‚Äôs high time we shed off our cloaks of haughtiness and our hats of language elitism and give way to the fact that skills should matter more than vocabulary. ¬†Even if a friend asks you to point out typos or a few misspelt words, do it gently and please don‚Äôt assume self-importance. They came to you for help not because you can mock them later in parties. Many of us have learnt the language by reading the words and not listening to their pronunciation. So, if something goes wrong, take it easy on them, you Mr. Know-it-all.
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