Mrs. Rupali Londhe
The basic premise of any language acquisition is the cultural background that the learner possesses. In this paper in general, we will be discussing how the culture of a learner affects his language acquisition specially the corresponding ones. In particular, case studies across the countries will be referenced to bring home the point of the importance of a learner’s culture, his social background and its direct and indirect influence on the learner.
“India has a rich cultural heritage”, as a student in my primary classes my favorite topic was always My Country, My Nation. Inevitably the opening statement would be the same as above without too much of thought involved. Later on the topic remained the same but on a cognitive level the cultural heritage became the definition of my existence, my values and the morals and principals that I carried. My language, no matter whichever Indian language I used became an integral part of my expression. To connect with the global community I used the other languages too but in the heart of my heart my identity was my language. Millions of global citizens would agree with me on this. Here we have tried to delve deeper into the topic as to how English came to be a second (?) language in this multi lingual country and whether the question tag put has any serious implications.
Key words: culture, language, identity.
English and India have only I and N in common. Putting it between the two words we have English in India. A term that needs a lot of thought on its status, especially it’s teaching in this land of diversified culture. Culture is communication, communication is culture. Culture is a broader concept that is inherently tied to many of the linguistic concepts taught in second language classes. [i]
The question that we are addressing is that is English a second language in India? In that India where culture defines an individual’s existence and identity? Where does English fit in this scope of the learner? As per the explanation given in National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1996, p. 27) “Through the study of other languages, students gain a knowledge and understanding of the cultures that use that language; in fact, students cannot truly master the language until they have also mastered the cultural contexts in which the language occurs”.
Language is an integral part of any culture. The fact that India has regional cultures puts a question mark on the status of English as a second language here. The premises on which the discussion takes place is according to me a little flawed as this language does not act as a second language here. It is in fact a secondary language that has a tough battle to fight for its existence. Many a thanks to the new age confused generation of global citizens who find it little difficult to decide upon their OWN language and thus the status of a particular language is brought forth in question. Here the language in question is of course English.ELT in India has many challenges to face as compared to other countries. Keeping In mind that India in its geographical distances varies a lot in its language and cultural habits English has to face a tough regional languages battle. To begin with, the term ESL does not aptly apply here. Across the country we have variety of English spoken and accepted in its complete flavor mixed with the regional languages. now this is the English that India accepts and communicates in. the fact that we are obsessed with learning and interacting in English however flawed it may be is one consideration that this language gets. This also on the other hand poses the third challenge which is the extreme affection we have with the language and its users which has lead to mushrooming of facilitators whose expertise in teaching correct English is definitely questionable. To add to its woes...