Dr. Monali Bhattacharya
Associate Professor, Humanities & Social Sciences
Jaypee Institute of Information & Technology
Today, the entire world has become a global village. Hence interaction between people belonging to different communities, cultures and countries has become inevitable. This communication takes place generally through English which now enjoys the status of international language. With the rising economies like India and China, and changing attitude of youth towards the queens language English has undergone a complete structural change especially in India. As I have stated earlier, in a paper in the journal ELT-VOICES INDIA, India does not speak Indian Variety of English anymore. Rather a combination of ‘Hinglish, SMS grammatology, computer jargonism, email shorthand has given birth to what I would term as ‘General Variety of English’. The linguistic performance and linguistic competence of this language varies from individual to individual. ‘BTW’, the email shorthand of by the way is accepted language in business correspondence among multinational companies. But btw is interpreted as between among college going students when they communicate through mobiles. For a teacher like me it is not different from hieroglyphics. But there is no doubt that nativisation and globalization or rather localisation of English language has led to the emergence of a variety of English albeit non-native, lexically, morphologically, syntactically and stylistically different from the standard British form. This is the linguistic fact not only in India but everywhere. Thus gone are the days when we used to talk to people, now we dialogue with people over a cup of coffee or participate in a heated debate on the commoditization of services. Today we pen down our thoughts in diary instead of simply writing or just table our views in front of friends. Thus today in our normal discourse, we keep up with the tradition of cut-copy-paste. Journalism also has seen this adaptive capability of a literary language like English and we often come across statements like – It is a good read in the best article reviews. But speaking locally or communicating in general variety of English can be the linguistic behaviour of children or even youth, but the same youth, when chairs a business session or conducts a diplomatic deal, behaves within certain ‘propriety rules’ of language or communication. Moreover with India marching onwards in leaps and bounds towards becoming a superpower, the communication of Indians with other nationals at the highest level has increased manifold. The ground reality is that till date countries like U.S.A., U.K. and other European nations command the world in economic, social and political matters. To be at par with them and to convince, argue or state to them we need to have full command over English as we cannot afford to have any semantic or communication gap with people who are native speakers of English. Thus the four dimensions of linguistic competence as given by Canale and Swain, i.e. ‘grammatical competence, socio-linguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence’ need to be mastered by our children so that in coming times we really emerge as the world leader in social, economic and political affairs of the world. The skilful knitting of all the four dimensions of linguistic competence shall be possible only if we transcend the boundaries of second language learning and second language acquisition. Our command over English as it is in its present form globally should be as if we have two mother tongues.