Learning the Local Language

It was a rainy evening.I booked an Ola cab to go back home from office.I called up the driver’s number from my mobile to give him instructions to reach my place.

‘Elli idiri?(where are you)’,I asked the driver in Kannada.

‘Enu Ma’m(what Ma’m)’,asked the driver with a surprised tone.

I repeated the question.Then followed a small discussion in Kannada wherein I gave him instructions to reach my place.For some reason,the driver seemed to be amused when I talked to him in Kannada.

Once I got into the vehicle,I realized the reason for the driver’s amusement.He told me that it was the first time he was ferrying a passenger speaking Kannada from an IT park.He seemed to be very happy about it.He actually thanked me for speaking to him in his mother tongue.

I do speak Kannada fluently,courtesy-lot of Kannada friends and even a part of my family.But still I must admit that my Kannada is not perfect.I even speak with a heavy accent.But still it was music to the Kannada driver’s ears.

I have a lot of friends from other states living in Bangalore.Most of them manage with Hindi or in some cases if they are from neighbouring states,they are able to manage with their mother tongue also.English is also widely understood in Bangalore,so not knowing Kannada doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for people from other states here.

But when people are ready to spend money,time and effort to learn
German,French or Chinese,why not at least make an attempt to learn the
language of your neighbour.
Of course,India has many languages and
each state has a different language.It is just not possible to learn
all the languages,especially if your job takes you across various
states.But if you have been in a state for almost a decade and still
cannot understand if somebody speaks to you in the local language,well,
it is something to ponder about.

I have some friends who have been in Bangalore right from their college days.They have stayed here for four years of their engineering and then nearly ten more years working in corporates here.Still they have not made any attempt to learn the local language.Worse,they don’t even understand if somebody speaks to them in the local language.

Granted,that not everyone has a flair for learning new languages and find it intimidating to learn a new language at an adult age.But at least an attempt can be made right?. I would like to tell all those friends out there that learning an additional language is not going to cause any harm to them.

Actually,there are a lot of advantages in knowing the local language.For one,you can understand what the local bus conductor is telling you.You can negotiate with the auto driver.
Let us suppose you drive your own vehicle and don’t need to use public transport.Even then,it makes sense to understand what the other road users are telling you in the local language.Above all,you get to know a lot about the local culture.

There are many excuses put forth for not learning a new language.

1. I can’t follow the language-
          Well,if you don’t make an attempt to understand,you never will
2. People mock me if I try to speak in the local language-
          A few incidents should not put you down.Think about long term benefits of learning a language.Supposing you were from a vernacular medium school and had to learn English for your job,would you give this excuse?. In fact,you will try to prove yourself to the people who mocked at you.
3. My accent gives me away-
         Learning the language is for your day to day convenience.There is no need for you to hide your identity.As long as you are able to communicate,it shouldn’t be a problem.
4. I haven’t felt the need to communicate in the local language-
       By far,this is the most common reason for someone not to learn the local language.If there is a necessity,you would have learnt it by now.Even if circumstance doesn’t demand it,learning the local language is advantageous in the long run.Speaking to a person in their own mother tongue generates a lot of goodwill and you can benefit from it at the end of the day.

So stop making excuses and make improvements in learning the local language.

  • Start by talking to your maid,security or whoever is willing to talk to you in the local language.
  • Make a sincere attempt to learn it.
  • Dont worry if you don’t get it right the first time.Keep trying.
  • Remember that you are not aiming to learn the local language literature.It is enough if you are able to communicate well.So learn the local dialects well.

This applies not only to Bangalore.Go anywhere in India and this logic applies.

So my dear friends, ‘Happy learning the local language to you’.


Written for Day 14 of BlogChatter HalfMarathon


Write Tribe weekly promt- ‘Dont make excuses.Make Improvements’

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