Legal Law

My Date with the English Language: A First-Hand Account

Throughout my school education, the medium of instruction was the vernacular slang. English as a subject came in the 5th standard. However, I began to bunk leave the class, as I couldn’t understand the language and was extremely uncomfortable. One day, my class teacher noticed my absence and discovered me eating ice cream at the store next to the school. She complained to the manager, who called my father the next day. The director, in the presence of my father, made me stand in a ‘touching my toes’ posture for about 30 minutes and then left me with a stern warning.

Somehow, on that ‘faidic’ day, I resolved to give my best to the English language. As a result, I continued to get good grades in the subject until my twelfth grade. Two good habits that I developed during those years, thanks to my father, were reading newspapers in English and using the dictionary. However, since the language used at home or at school or in the social circle or in the circle of friends was vernacular, I did not learn spoken or written English as effectively.

After passing my 12 exams, I took admission to a postgraduate course in Microbiology at the local university. Once again, the principal who knew my father insisted that since my education was in the vernacular, it would be to my benefit to gain admission to the class that would have the vernacular as the medium of instruction. Luckily, I transferred to a new university, where the medium of instruction was English. This university was about 50 miles from my hometown, so I stayed at the hostel. Fortunately, my batchmates were from other states in India and they spoke and wrote English better than me.

During the first semester, it wasn’t that difficult since it was more about the basic sciences, which I had partly learned in the 12th standard. The real problem began from the second semester with the new disciplines. He couldn’t make head or tail of what he was getting from the teachers. Somehow I survived and made it through the second semester.

The third semester came and I was in great difficulty. At one point, I even thought about leaving the course. Then her friends supported her both emotionally and academically. So I decided to tackle the problem head on. I was lucky to have a batchmate, who willingly agreed to help me in my quest to learn English, as a means of communication. The process he mandated was simple, but rigorously followed.

I had to read the old English newspapers almost daily while in the hostel and pick out 10 words or phrases I didn’t understand. Then I had to consult the dictionary and write down the meaning of each word or phrase in my notebook. Later, he had to make the sentences with these words or phrases, and my friend reviewed everything he had done. My habit of consulting the dictionary was very helpful in this process. After reviewing my work, my friend would ask me to speak some of the sentences and help correct the pronunciations. To make sure that I learn correct English, he would also explain the grammar and context to me.

Slowly and steadily, confidence replaced anxiety. I started reading available English magazines, which helped me further understand the use of English as a means of communication. This process, supported by my batchmate, took about 18-20 months and I began to get a sense of mastery over the English terminology. I even started to socialize more and better and I didn’t feel ashamed to speak English even if it was flawed.

I finished my graduation with good scores and after about 15 months, I joined one of the best management institutes in India for postgraduate management. Here, the atmosphere was much more cosmopolitan as the classmates were from different backgrounds (educational, social, ethical and economic) and from different parts of the country. Some were from metros, some from cities and some from towns.

The confidence gained in the use of the English language during the graduation years was a great support during graduate school. Whether it was speaking, writing, typing, or presenting, he was relatively at ease. In general, the season in the management institute was comfortable, since I did not have any difficulties in understanding and learning. Still, I didn’t realize that learning a language, any language, is an ongoing process and I was still in the ‘classroom’.

I entered the professional world after graduating. In my first company, verbal communication was generally in the national and vernacular language. However, I began to appreciate the contextual use of English because I had to correspond both within the company and with external parties, including vendors, legal officials, and recruitment agencies. I also had to deal with the consultants hired by the company for specific purposes. These consultants were fluent in English and so I learned a bit of the ‘professional’ way of speaking and writing English. Interestingly, a British company acquired the company and thus the emphasis on English became almost absolute.

After my first company, I have worked with two more companies and I have continued to learn English. Another method that I have used a lot to learn English is to watch English news channels regularly. With the growing appreciation of the language, over a period I have developed the habit of reading books on various subjects. Books not only teach the language, but also help develop patience and concentration.

In my last corporate assignment, my line manager was overly demanding on the correct and contextual use of English. That was again an interesting learning period, in which I discovered a few more nuances of English slang.

The more I learn about English, there seems to be more to discover. Fortunately I have remained faithful to the lexicon and vocabulary. What was an allergy in the fifth standard has become a taste for a period. Even today, I make mistakes, but online support is available from a distance. My most significant learning has been practicing context-based English with the right words or phrases and correct grammar.

Although I scanned this article twice before submitting it for publication, there could be an error. The error could be incorrect grammar or inappropriate sentence structure or incorrect punctuation or unnecessary use of passive/active voice.

As I write, speak, and listen more in English, I become more curious and enlightened about its depth and breadth.. Language is the most effective medium through which we all express ourselves and connect. Therefore, if “knowledge is power”, then “knowing English is a superpower”.


Some of Gandhi’s most unequivocally expressed views concerned the English media education that the British induced in India. He was not against the English language and its noble literature, but he was against English education in India at the expense of vernacular languages. He believed that this form of education was a systematic psychological assault.

Gandhi was contextually right.

Today, while vernacular languages ​​have their rightful importance, not being able to speak or write English well, which is one of the most widely spoken and understood languages ​​in the world, is certainly a weakness, if not a disgrace. This especially applies to those who have a world view and dream of developing acquaintances, friendships, relationships and business across borders and seas.

We are also contextually correct.

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