Random images from my flickr stream...



English, whats the big deal?

One of the best experiences of working in a foreign country is the way your thoughts about English, change !!!

In India, it still stays a BIGGGG deal, and in the UK or US, its just another language... We still look down upon people who cannot speak english and are more comfortable in their own languages, but here I really do not see people judging you by the language you speak !!!

There are people who speak English ridiculously, and some who have a horrible accent, or have a very very very heavy MTI (Mother Tongue Influence) but guess what !!! It does not matter, till you can "communicate" well !!!

I say, forget about how well you can speak English, and how many bigg words you know... just think of how well you communicate... rest does not really matter !!!

One of my meetings today was chaired by a lady from China, had 5 Indians from Gharwal, Punjab, Maharashtra, UP and Madras, and all the Americans had a different accent too !!! still the meeting went super well !!!

English, after all, is no BIG DEAL !!!


  1. its the mindset ppl have which is person specific... i see a lot of indian riters gettng getting an award just because they use flowery english as if they are trying to prove a point to the west that we can speak english too and better than you guys... although the book would have no plot or watsoever... but just because they can use some big words its worth getting an award... so its a mindset which will not change but with time... u just need to be comfortable with wat u speak and rest everythng follows...

  2. So true om...language is merely a medium to communicate. If you are fulfilling that purpose, the rest simply doesn't matter.

    Flowery language doesnt necessarily mean that there's meat in the matter. There is more depth in the wonderful and simple stories of R.K. Narayan than in the purple proses of any fancy writer today...

  3. yup - as long as you can communicate, it is not an issue... I was very uncomfortable when I started dealing with US during the initial days of my career, but later I realized it doesn't matter and they dont look down if you dont have the exact same accent... :)

  4. well....these were people who are used to such a melting pot...wait till you see a hard core american. Don't be surprised if THEY are surprised that you can actually speak English and that too so well.

    (I mostly agree with you, but just felt like throwing a little pebble in there ;)

    Set ho gaye WI mein?

  5. Just remembered another incidence...
    a friend works as a manager in the customer service dept, and one day one of his reports called him, very hassled, saying S, this customer wants to speak to some one non-indian, and asked to speak to my mngr! What do I do!? S, was like, let me talk to him...lets see if he can figure out whether i am indian or not.

    So...again...its the "audience" that decides whether it matters or not..

  6. you dedicating a post to it and putting an effort to declare emphasises that it is

  7. Totally totally agree with you..as wrongly perceievd by most Indians, most of the Foreign Janta cant speak English that well (leaving apart the Amreekans and Britishers).
    I realised it during my conversations with my counter parts in Europe and most of Asia Pac region.In some of the conversations, I even found it difficult to understand what they meant.Atleast we Indians are better off than them, no matter how well we speak or not, we atleast make our point clear!!

  8. Good english or not.... doesn't matter much....!!
    Agree with you sir jee but only partially.

    A depth of character is more important,
    but when it comes too wooing a preety girl, a nice english is definately a must if you are in India.
    I dont know about those in UK & US. ;-)

    Keep Writing!

  9. # Slip...
    you bet... mindsets... I am not really sure about the writers, as I am not a very well read person !

    # Bhoomi...
    i so agree with what you say about RK Narayan

    # Anoop...
    I have not really seen many with the same accent here anyway... just that we tend to make opinions which are not always right !

    # Kashmira...
    I started my career with a BPO and talked to atleast 20 different americans everyday over a period of 2 years :) At that time we were not even allowed to tell them that we are in India, but by the end of those 2 years, things changed, the hard core americans ( atleast the ones that I used to talk to) started appreciating and respecting us for what we were...
    Ofcourse, professionally there is a need to reduce the MTI, because I feel its much heavier with some parts in India, but my point is that if you are not speaking the flawless english, its something not to worry about.. because english is really no big deal here !!! its just a language and not a measure of you as a person!

    # Tushar...
    I am sorry to see you saying that I am dedicating a post to this... I write my thoughts around whatever I feel like on this blog, and at times irrespective of how important or not so important the thing is !

    as far as the topic is concerned, my emphasis is on the fact that there is no need to treat English as a big deal, which most of us back in India do, for just incorrectly perceived reasons !

    # Vaishali...
    for that matter, even the Amreekans do not have a consistency in "how" they speak english... their english is as messed up as our Hindi is... And America is not really on identity, so putting them all under one umbrella would be incorrect too... every state here speaks differently, just like every state back home in India speaks differently !!!

    You would find understanding the English even in US and UK tough at times.. and God be with you when you are in Scotland :D

    # Ankit...
    Thats what bro, in India ! I feel that we run after things which we think are really "cool" and look down upon what is Indian... I would say those girls/boys are idiots who only judge by "nice" english... and I also want to know.. what is "nice" english anyway :)

  10. Just my sentiments bruv......

  11. Its definately not a big deal.. I've even pictorially communicated and managed to complete a whole project!! ;)

  12. I realised this too :)
    It's not just being able to communicate with Americans or britishers.. the changing point for me in order to speak slowly ( and hence communicate well) was when I was once put in a team with a Korean.
    No matter how I spoke, she was unable to understand. We ended up having meetings sitting beside each other with our laptops and discussing the meeting over google chat!

    Thanks for sharing the thought.

  13. Completely agree with you Prashant!

    It's we who make a big deal about it...traveling, seeing the world changes our perspective on various things.

    Nice post.


  14. technically you are, you can't hide from the fact. "writing thoughts..." is just a wrapper

    as far as the questions goes, how many of us really are honest deep down or how many of us would practice what we are saying here in post and the comments

  15. # Abhi...
    yea... i realized that while traveling the tubes too..

    # Sam
    you are so rocking !

    # Kshitiz...
    interesting :)

    # Arch
    yes, its we who make a big deal about it.. and for no reason... it probably just makes us "cooler" if we speak English everywhere...

    # Burf...
    Technically, I am sorry and sad to see you write this !!! Of all the people, I expected you to understand that I write for myself and not for anyone else !!!

    and writing thoughts is "NOT" a wrapper!

    About the honesty part, I do not know who all are... I am ! I do not take being able to speak English as a big deal at all... at-least because my stay in the UK and US tells me that it really does not matter !!!

  16. it saddens me all the more to dodge your emotional punches

    but i guess i misunderstood when you said "In India, it still stays a BIGGGG deal" - you seem to be talking on behalf of India and not just yourself

  17. remove the first line from my last comment whenever you see it, let's keep our privacy out of public eye

  18. :-) I agree that it is a big deal in India...for one, I myself at times, make such a big deal about English :| don't care if it is right or wrong but I do make a fuss about all languages be it English or just any language then....
    and coming back to posts at Chai ki Dukaan, I feel that where communication with the self comes in, the end should be served...
    Like when I speak to my head, I speak in three different languages all mixed up... :D
    So, all is well when the end is being served I say...
    Enjoy the meetings ;) :P

  19. #Burf...

    # Aro..

    # Reeta...

    thanks... i am trying to settle in !!! :)

  20. yup true...who cares about english as long as you can get the point across..

  21. yes....true.
    I guess others have no such cololinal hangups as we do...anything foreign is a status..so does English...

  22. the point is to convey what we want others to hear.. and take whatever tools technology gives.. I have colleagues with this problem.. I tell them to present it in the form of graphics or ppts ... which works..

    Sigh.. unfortunately we are stuck with this bane...

    PS: am going backwards in reading your posts..

  23. I agree completely with you here on a worldly scale and I feel bad that in India, its a big necessity :(
    Reason being that we have soo many regional languages and Hindi is not a universal language for communication... not even taught well in all states.

    Though i myself am not a real fan of english, we can't shy from the fact that we owe much of our nation's development to this language.

    On a lighter note, see this:

  24. Yup... always believed what you say is more important than how you say it (accent wise, at least).

    That's why I speak my 'fluent' hindi, don't I?

  25. # Tanu...

    # FighterJet...
    "status" and "style" is the term that I think we are too hung up on... Speaking in your own mother tongue is looked down upon... I am not sure why...

    In a group where people come from different backgrounds, I guess a common language is important... but otherwise as well, people raising their kids up, with the kids not speaking a word of hindi/their own language, is strange to me !

    # Pallavi...
    yea... we are kinda stuck...

    p.s. no worries :)

    # Vinod...
    I am very glad about the development etc... but I am not too happy with giving up what is ours for the language !

    # Subbu...
    teri hindi to amazing hai bhai !

  26. You have a valid point here. bUt when i was a kid i used to do a lot of this jidging & then i realised how foolish that was.
    By the way, Prashant you have been Tagged. And pls check my blog for details. I will look forward to reading your tagged post :)