Before scoffing at this article to dump it into a pile of things that have been “done to death,”; let’s just sneak a second glance at the words.
English language just for the elitist.
English. Just. Elitist.
These are the words that have given society the privilege to categorize placement of people into social constructs. A privilege that our ancestors so conscientiously and almost conveniently built.
The English language debacle is one that exists beyond the cliques once established within the four walls of a school. Before I peruse further, I’d like to make one aspect severely distinct – several might disagree with my approach. This may be either out of sheer ignorance or due to a baseless desire to disagree.
Upon a heated conversation with some of the finest educators in the city, I met a conclusion that the English language façade is no longer one of linguistics but of identity. We see the colonised English speakers as automatically smarter and place them higher on the totem pole. By default, this makes everyone who speaks in any other language, inferior.
Even more unfortunate, is the desire to ensure this distinction remains intact. This is merely to support the fragile egos of the elitist-who feel threatened by somebody who doesn’t fit their description of normal. Furthermore, it irks them that said person, also doesn’t speak in Ebonics or fumbles on their own words.
As an active member of society, as an English Language and Literature teacher-here is what I’ve experienced this language to have become:
- English equals success.
- It means money.
- English is inevitably a good family.
- It makes fancy cars.
- English epitomizes hygiene.
- And the finest misconception of all – English IS intellect – it is nothing short of a class act that allows people to roll their tongues and speak their ‘Rs’ a certain way. It even allows them to claim more rights as opposed to someone who possesses the same expressive ability in a language they perceive as uncivilized and uncouth.
We live and strive to ensure the maintenance of a community where entertainment is a television actress mispronouncing big words. Where entertainment equates to social media celebrities struggling to put together thoughts coherently. Our headlines are centered on the cricketers that give their country the very best in athletic abilities at international forums -only to be criticised over their prowess over the english language.
Because of the flawed education system our money feeds, we ensure the continuing quiddity of the class system.
English remains a lifestyle – a luxury only accessible to a few. We forget that politicians of the subcontinent stressed on its value as a language. As nothing more than a mode of communication. Considering our love for comparison – statistically speaking more than 80% of India has the ability to communicate in English. This is because it is taught as a language and not sold and made approachable for a few as a desired lifestyle. Whereas in Pakistan, if someone who “doesn’t look like” they could speak in English, manages to do so, it takes our shallow brains at least five minutes to fathom the possibility and meaning of it all. How, oh dear Lord how, did a thailay wala speak in the language of the elitists.
Living in a world where everyone seems to take pride in their mother tongue, we’ve reduced ourselves to the language we speak. We’ve allowed it to identify us and deem us as superior and worth being spoken to.