Friday, April 25, 2014

The Vernacular speaks

We know you look down on us. You see us as downmarket, not in touch with the times.

We try in our own way. we try to make ourselves visible, to grab your attention, but it’s tough to achieve on our own.

Sometimes we refrain from participating in discussions on certain subjects, not because we are slow or backward but because we don’t have the words to describe those things. The terminology eludes us.

How can you be so unwilling to associate with us? At least in a nation like India that boasts of hundreds of languages and thrice as many dialects, you must be slow to snigger at us. We’ve been around for a long, long time, ages before English arrived on Indian shores. Our literature and the culture we have spawned have been alive and vibrant.

Some of us are dying a slow death. All because you are ashamed of us.

We don’t think ill of the language you’ve adopted as your own. Just a slight twinge of envy for having lost you to its charms.

We are rich in our own ways. Sure, there are many concepts that we can’t get a handle on, but there are an equally large number of things that you take for granted that you would find it very difficult to translate to English.

So, don’t assume that someone is less intelligent if they depend upon us to communicate themselves.

We have our virtues. We connect you to places and climes you may not even have seen. We bring you in touch with people with whom you have shared ancestries. So that even when you don’t know about them, you find yourselves nodding to the beat of something that appeals to something primeval in you.

If we lose our essence, it will be because you won’t meet us halfway.

Come, make an attempt to get to know us better. Teach your children to love us, to take a fierce pride in us.

Speak us with pride. We are your mother tongues, the language that your roots were steeped in, the language that struck a chord with your ancestors.

Make our rhythms your own. Revive us. Breathe life into our lost glories.

Don’t leave us behind in your surge ahead.

I promise you, your efforts will be richly rewarded.


  1. Perfect post Cynthia! Very relevant to contemporary times. Often times I have seen people answer back in English even though they know their mother tongue well, as if they will lose face if they respond in their mother tongue. Paah!

  2. Like I said before we defntly had a connection today. I couldn't wait to open this post and read. Brilliantly written again. First thing I did in office is read this :)
    This is where people like raghu dixit come in to picture. Through music they try saving our languages and experiment with music and make people understand - which is my post today :)
    anyway enjoyed reading it !

  3. Almost every new parent in this age, talk to their babies in English. Theoretically, the kids today speak flawless English but they lack practical and general knowledge. I feel it so odd to speak with with kids who are my relatives and who cannot speak in Kannada even though they reside in a Kannada speaking city.

  4. I think the more languages a child knows the better and ofcourse parents while teaching their mother tongue should also go a step further to ensure that chauvinism for one's language is not the message conveyed for I have seen many doing the same...

    V for Violated-Random Thoughts Naba

  5. Excellent post on the importance of vernacular.

  6. I made sure my kids knew the vernacular (Hindi) words for thing before they knew the English. Thus they always exclaimed- ma dekho bandar! not- look mom, there's a monkey!

    Isn't it amazing how you always think EXACTLY like me... or the other way round? We seem so perfectly in sync, it is astounding!

    Talk about twins! :D

  7. I am amazed at the ease with which you have spoken for those concerned in each post in this challenge. :)
    I don't believe in the permanency or greatness of any language. Languages are born, will have a rich and full life, then will disappear and make way for new ones to be born. That is the the bigger picture as I see it. :)

  8. This is a timely, excellent post. Language, learning languages is an exquisite experience. Best of everything to you.
    Over from the A to Z.

  9. hmm...completely agree. It has its own charms!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...