If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Monday, 11 February 2013

A note to my students #?: English Vinglish

To make your car tyres last longer, you change their positions periodically – front to back, left to right etc. When I got this done this morning, the mechanic wrote out a bill in a neat legible hand: 

Tyre rotasan – Rs.100

I couldn’t immediately figure out what he meant. But when I did, I felt the bill conveys two important messages. 

Firstly, He didn’t write out the bill in his own language. This means, he belongs to the one third of the world population that prefer to conduct business in English. 

Secondly and quite sensibly, he doesn’t give a damn about the rules of English spelling (or grammar, I am sure). But he has the confidence to communicate in a language that has become the lingua franca of world business. 

And I had to note with a tinge of regret that he uses the English language with a lot more freedom than I do. What is more, he has the ability to create new language like some of the best writers of all times. 

The bill also told me that in the long run, English is going to cover a lot more space in our lives, but English teachers like me will be out of job. Amen!

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