Thursday, May 7, 2009

Importance of English - The Business language

The guy next door looks just so chic and suave. Guess what, I have always seen him dressed in the latest fashion...but I was slightly shaken-up when we exchanged words for the first time. I had accidentally bumped into him at Greater Kailash M-Block market, New Delhi and I asked for being excused; however, his reply was too coarse - 'Andhi hai kyaa...dikhta nahi hai chalte waqt?' (Are you blind? Can't you see when you walk?). That is when all my respect for him died down. After few more incidents of well-dressed people not knowing how to talk, I concluded that looking good is important..however, speaking well is more important.

I still remember the time when I was in school and everyone would laugh at me just because I spoke the language even during break time, while going to school and coming back home, in the sports field, in the gym, just about everywhere, except Hindi classes. Today I realize the importance of having a strong base in English from my primary days, as it is the only business language which reigns supreme.

Being a good communicator does not mean that your English should be excellent; however, if your hold on the language is strong, you stand a better chance of success as you will be more heard. Most youngsters today, believe in communicating in Hindi or their mother-tongue. I had conducted a survey in 2007. The result: 83% freshers / professionals who communicate in a language apart from English, made 99% more grammatical mistakes than the remaining 27% folks who preferred speaking in English. This 27% population was given chances to make business presentations to customers, address town-halls, and needless to say - promotions.

Most grammatical errors crop up when we speak in Hindi / a different language and have to translate the same to English. Eg. "main to wahin tha"..."I was there only". Here only is not required, as stating "I was there" with an emphasis on 'was' means the same thing and is grammatically correct.

While speaking in English, 'Inflection' plays a very important role. Inflection is stressing / laying emphasis on a word in a sentence to bring out the meaning of the sentence.
Eg. My sister stays near California. (not yours, but my sister)
My sister stays near California. (my sister, not parents)
My sister stays near California. (she stays there, she has not gone there for a vacation)
My sister stays near California. (she stays near California, not in California)
My sister stays near California. (California, not Los Angeles)

In Hindi, we use 'bada' (big) to describe an elder brother, tall building, a large cake, a high mountain, etc... The English language has maximum verbs and adjectives and has the largest vocabulary across all languages. That is the reason why words like 'tall', 'large', huge', 'elder', etc...can be replaced with 'big'. The catch here is, that we should know when the synonym of a certain word can be used in a certain scenario, else you change the complete meaning of the sentence.

In India, people have now started communicating in English, hence making it a link language. Keeping this in mind, the Parliament has also recognized the language as an official language in addition to Hindi. English-medium schools are now gaining popularity to the extent that most leaders who have denounced the language, have sent their children to the best convent schools in / outside India.

Generally, standard english today does not depend on accent, but rather on shared educational experience, mainly of the printed language. Present-day English is an immensely varied language, having absorbed material from many other tongues, including Sanskrit. It is the official language of air transport and shipping, the leading language of science, technology, computers and commerce and a major medium of education, publishing and international negotiations.


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