“The mother tongue lays a strong foundation for the expression of creativity. Every effort must be made to nurture creativity at the formative stage.” Analyse. (15 Marks)

Mentor Comments:

  • The article explains that with India being a linguistic treasure-trove, a nation widely acknowledged for its extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity. The plurality and co-existence of multiple languages add colour and vitality to our country and make it unique.
  • Elucidate upon the linguistic diversity of the country and the importance of the mother tongue as a tool of expression.
  • In brief, take hints from the article and bring out the linguistic and cultural diversity in the country. This will be your intro.
  • In the main body, first, explain the relevance of mother tongue with respect to child pedagogy.
  • Explain the pros and cons of having a primary education in the mother tongue.
  • Discuss its applications – in development of child, in education, Better connection with your culture, Intellectual Development, Commercial benefits, the Pride and in establishing the identity of a particular society.
  • Conclude with a way forward.

Answer:

Mother tongue or mother language refers to the language which a person has grown up speaking from early childhood. India is a land of linguistic diversity and the languages differ in their dialects every 100 km. There have been many arguments and dissatisfaction over having a single national language (Hindi) for the entire country. The Vice president of India recently said that mother tongue vital for survival of civilisation and every country must encourage their children to study primarily in the mother tongue.

Mother Tongue is vital to preserving India’s cultural diversity and heritage:

  • Mother tongue is the very first language that one hears, understands and gets familiar with. Thus, it plays an important role in shaping feelings, emotions and thought processes.
  • Use of mother language helps one in getting comfortable with his/her cultural identity.
  • Maintaining mother languages is necessary for preserving cultural heritage and identity.
  • Dissemination of mother languages encourages linguistic diversity, thus inspires solidarity based on understanding, tolerance, and dialogue.
  • When languages disappear, the world loses a rich tapestry of cultural identity.
  • Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression, valuable resources for ensuring a better future also get lost.

 

Every year, UNESCO celebrates 21st February as International Mother Language Day to promote mother tongue-based multilingual education. The day is also a reminder of how language connects us, empowers us and helps us to communicate our feelings to others. The world has over 7,000 languages whereas India alone has about 22 officially recognized languages, 1635 mother tongues, and 234 identifiable mother tongues.

Challenges faced in preserving mother languages:

  • According to the UN, every two weeks, a language disappears and the world loses an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.
  • At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.
  • Only a few hundred languages have been genuinely given a place in education systems and public domain. Also, 40% of the global population does not have access to education in a language they speak or understand.
  • Less than a hundred languages are used in the digital world.
  • Apart from globalization, rush for learning foreign languages for better job opportunities is a major reason behind the disappearance of mother languages.

Way forward to preserve mother languages:

  • With the help of technology, every mother language can be maintained. Google’s Project Navlekha in India is an example. The project is aimed at increasing the online content in Indian local languages.
  • People should be made aware of the professional viability of pursuing degrees in native languages. With a degree in a native language, one can take up professions like Language Expert, Translators, and Tourist-Guide etc.
  • Also to maintain any native language, it is necessary that it is spoken. Use of native languages at homes, schools, and offices should be encouraged.
  • The Upper House of India has an arrangement for interpretation of 22 languages i.e. members are encouraged to speak in their native languages.
  • Countries like France, Germany, Italy, China have developed their mother languages as a powerful medium. Other countries need to learn from these to preserve their cultural and linguistic identity.

It is our strength that we have many languages and dialects. All other languages are important. But one should respect, learn and understand their mother tongue. According to a hegemonic role to the “most-spoken” language in the country may promote cultural homogenisation, but that is hardly desirable in a country with a diverse population, a plural ethos and is a cauldron of many languages and cultures. Further, national identity cannot be linked to any one language, as it is, by definition, something that transcends linguistic and regional differences. The need today is to respect, protect and nurture diversity of our nation so that unity is ensured.

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Deepanshu Gulyani
Deepanshu Gulyani
2 years ago

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