Friday, July 08, 2011

Preserving Our Local Languages

With globalization reaching its new high, English language is becoming more and more ubiquitous.  Preference for sending kids to English medium schools is on the rise.  Our cultural values are diminishing and merging more towards a global culture.  It is difficult to measure culture and argue on numbers but it is happening.

So are we about to loose our cultural heritage and integrity?  What should we do to create awareness about local culture among everyone?   Who will teach Gujarati(regional language for Gujarat state in India) and who will do marvelous poetry that we used to learn in schools?  And most important of all will anybody care for it? Shouldn't we preserve our rich culture of local language?  In different countries they have still preserved their languages.  In fact in many countries they have computer key boards in their languages.

In a world of globalization it is very important that we learn a universal language but an equal effort should be placed in promoting and preserving our own language strictly speaking other than English.  With the advent of English medium schools and now international schools it is becoming a status symbol for middle class in India.  Well it is all good but at the same time equal emphasis should put on teaching our kids the prevalent local language.

I don't say that we should send every one to Gujarati medium schools but we should keep more Gujarati courses available in universities and colleges. And why not, for Free.  We should create platform which provides motivation, incentives, and recognition to upcoming talent in local languages around the world.  In U.S. universities have couple of courses on foreign languages and people take those courses as a sign of prestige and it represents that they are intellectual.  Why same can't be done elsewhere in the world?  It is of prime importance that we acknowledge the need to preserve them.

The problem is more prevalent if you think of people who can understand and speak in their languages but cannot write or read.  This is a common case with immigrant children or children whose parents were immigrants.  What if those parents are willing to teach their children their mother tongue?  I mean in all aspects, reading, writing and speaking fluently.  And why would they even want to care for it?  Is there any incentive for their kids in a global society?  Those who don't find any answers will give up teaching to their kids.

Evangelism about local languages and local culture should be done by all responsible citizens of 21st century.  We are living in a more responsive society and I believe that we can achieve such goals.  At the same time our moves should not be counter productive either.  We should not make it harder for those who speak global language to live.  If you ever visit a country or a region with strong presence of local culture, then sometimes it is so hard to get things done even though if you know English.  "Think Global, Act Local" slogan best fits here.  We should not only embrace globalization but also keep a strong focus on localization.  At least that's what is the mantra going forward with technology companies.

So if you are still with me then suggest some ways we could address this issue in the comments sections.