Parents are language tutors
LANGUAGE SKILL: An average baby has the gift of speech organs,
in co-ordination to develop language skill in its early childhood. In
its infancy it attempts to sound the words it hears from its parents or
other elders. It repeats whatever it hears.
The acquisition of language and speech skills begin in early
childhood and evolves progressively. Wise parents sing nursery rhymes,
songs, hymns and chant gathas and verses, so that their infants may hear
and recite them over and over and develop speech potentiality; besides,
infants are fascinated and lured by such melodious singing and chanting.
Parents are good models
Mostly parents and good environment facilitate children to acquire
verbal mastery, in a rudimentary method. Educated and cultured parents
and elders invariably use pleasing propitious and polite words, phrases
and sentences. On hearing them, their children, as a rule mechanically
Thus they develop their vocabulary as well as speech skill and basic
grammatical rules too. Such children are invariably at an advantage when
they enter school life.
Some over enthusiastic parents fuss over their children so much by
providing them with too many books, workbooks, picture books and story
books. Pre-school children should be in a good pleasant mood to learn
speech by themesleves. Some children are born more talkative than
Such intelligent children always become renowned speakers later.
Samuel Johnson, the lexicographer who complied the first English
dictionary and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain,
during the Second World War were such outstanding eloquent speakers.
However, some children develop the skill of speech later in life. One
classic example is Albert Einstein, the German born US physicist who
developed the theory of relativity. As a child he found it extremely
difficult to learn to talk. His teachers called him a half-wit and even
his parents thought that he was subnormal but later he became the
professor of science.
Why do some children stammer?
Some inconsiderate parents or elders use strong arm tactics and
silence their children. Such children regard that self expression is
forbidden. Psychologically, such negative ideas are gradually imbedded
in the subconscious mind of those children.
As a result, they try to speak haltingly with a tendency to repeat
fearfully the same sound or syllable. This confusing and halting feature
of expression obviously cannot be curbed until the negative and
destructive thoughts of fear and shyness are eliminated completely from
the subconscious mind.
Parents, the language tutors, obviously have to be patient, tolerant,
understanding and good models in dealing with their children, allowing
them to talk freely, even noisily, at home.
Their wings of self-expression should never be clipped. Parents
should all the time be ready to stimulate, lend a hand and co-operate
with their children in the acquisition of language skill and the
miraculous gift of speech.
What is the global language: French or English? In the bygone days,
the European languages, French, Latin, Spanish, Russian and Italian had
the ascendancy over English. Old English appeared to be only a dialect
used by common people in their day to day dealings.
The members of the royalty in England used French in conversation and
communications; so did the aristocrats and the elite. The church used
Latin in religious observances; the same practice was prevailing in Sri
Lanka within recent memory.
However, in the sixteenth century, when Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603)
came to throne great scholars like Shakespeare, Marloue and Spenser
blossomed English literature and brave young men, Drake and Raleigh with
scores of young English sailors sailed the sevenseas and set up the
British Empire over which the sun never set.
Precisely, every language borrows words but English has been a
notorious borrower. After the norman conquest in the eleventh century
English borrowed thousands of French words and absorbed and at least
seventy five percent of those are still in use with slight
It is reported that about five thousand new words are being added to
the English vocabulary every year, enriching the language. From Sri
Lanka too the words bo-tree, perahera, pansala, vesak, dagaba and
several other words have been adopted. Besides, the words, some stems or
roots are also borrowed and many a part of speech is formed.
The Roman soldiers were given a special cost of living allowance
called sal to buy salt.
English borrowed the latin stem sal and formed and compiled saline,
salinity, salary, salaried. Today English is being used in more than
eight thousand territories in the world.
In 1955, nearly half a century ago the Bandung conference was held.
The delegates from 29 Asian and African countries attended. The
proceedings were conducted entirely in English, the language all could
understand. Converse and write.
Sri Jawaharlal Nehru said, "English is the major window for us to the
outside world." Another prominent Indian national leader Sri
Rajagopalchari added after gaining independence in the wake of a hard
battle, with the British, "English is a gift given to the Indians by the
goddess Saraswati, Goddess dedicated to learning.
So, Indians should look after it and take advantage of it.
Civilization is making headway in diverse fields, science, technology,
commerce, communication, education, diplomacy, computer science and
aeronautics and so on. It is evident that English is tremendously
developed and appropriate to be the global language so as to meet any
state of affairs, in the modern world.
French was the pre-eminent language in Europe in the days gone by.
Most of the members of royalties and elite in Europe flocked to Paris
the nucleus of European civilization and culture to drink deep at
After imbuing French language, literature etiquittes, new fashions,
preparation of culimary dishes they presumed that they were fully
cultivated personalities, so as to wield authority over their people and
hope for their respect.
For example, Catherine the Great Empress of Russia (1729 - 1796)
absorbed French culture and French thoughts, style of high society and
revolutionized Russian society so much, eventually she won the honorific
title Great. Being jealous of their beautiful language and glory of
their culture, French shilly - shallied to absorb words, under illusion
that the pristine glory of their language would blemish and finally fade
At a certain stage the French authorities even threatened to penalise
those who ventured to absorb words of foreign tongues. Consequently,
French lagged behind English in the forward march of human civilization.
In case, French had adopted the democratic and liberal language policy
of English today, French, an international language could have been the
dominating global language, relegating English to the secondary status.