Coffee with Pheran

Greater Kashmir

Linguists believe that if you want to learn a new language you need not only to speak, but make a conscious effort to think in the language you are trying to learn. This way you learn the language faster and you will sound far more natural and fluent. However, our mental faculties do not legitimize this phenomena of learning; our mind rather ratifies its own hypothesis that only brings confusion to our little minds.

English language plays a significant role in our daily lives. It’s among the leading languages in terms of usage all over the world. English being the most commonly used language in the world, the knowledge of English is one of the most important employability skills, say HR specialists.        Apart from its professional perspective English language is a globally accepted language that allows you to communicate with nearly all the people around the world. However, our problem is that although we learn to speak in English language, but we tend to keep thinking in our native language. This disparity between our speech and thought process not only baffles but bespeaks the sheer urge of double vision in a single body. One that rushes headlong into the English culture, seeking to adopt indiscriminately new manners, clothes, language etc.; and the other still being stuck in its native values. Both present a skewed perspective of our personalities that only mislead.

What happens when there is disparity between our thought and speech process?

When there is disconnect between the two we generally say something but do something else. That means our speech does not synchronize with our thought process. Similarly, like an individual who says something yet practices something else. Take for example our extravagant marriages. We pretend to be modern and broad visioned but show our true colors (dual vision) when we  crumble the back of girl’s parents with endless demands and formalities. The heavy English accented tone for which groom has toiled and struggled for years   all goes down the drain when he dances to the tune of his parents in the name of native values. The disparity between speech (words) and thought process (actions) leaves a bride clueless as who to follow –  the  English accent or the native values. In pursuit of mutating into gentleman the groom ends up evolving into a villain of some cheap Bollywood movie. The mismatch between our words and actions not  only makes us topic of mockery but hints at our monkey behavior, where our plight becomes that of a washerman’s dog  that belongs to no place, neither at home nor the washing pen.’

There is no harm in following any culture but exaggerating or following it selectively, as according to our own convenience adversely affects our value system. Language is part and parcel of any culture, it’s entwined to such an extent whereas one cannot survive without the other. In order to understand a language we must understand the cultural background of language usage, and explore culturally based linguistic differences to promote understanding instead of misconceptions or prejudices.

It’s not the English accent or the native values that mean contempt for culture. But it is  blindly following traditions, conventions, beliefs that bring negative effect on the society. A few glib gestures, fashionable trends, self-aggrandizing , shallow value system disrtances us from the real discoveries of life and its joys.

No matter you pronounce coffee with ‘K’ or coffee with ‘C’, it will remain what it is, and you pronounce Pheran with ‘P’ or Pheran with  ‘F’, it will remain what it is. If you want to erase teh difference between the two, it would be dishonest. For one must never forget that both are two different visions that can go together, but never substituted for each other.

(The author is Bureau Chief Daily Arising State)