Thursday, 28 February 2013

TheFirstSixMonths: English Vinglish- Learning a new language

I've been wanting to write this post a while since I saw this movie. I had once (in 2005 or so) taught a bunch of young kids in the summer. The idea was that they're from disadvantaged backgrounds and sometimes lose 'touch' with the school life, because they're probably busier in either helping parents, or just playing. The summer school reminded them of school. I am not sure what persuaded them to attend these classes. However, I do remember one of them saying how important learning English was to become Sachin Tendulkar. How else would you give interviews at the end of those winning matches. I saw the same aspirational view in Seoul. People wanted to be like Americans, and talk like them, including Starbucks names, and accents.

These days I often see how important German is. For my health and just getting by. If everyone in the world could speak one language the world would be brilliant. Because I want easy a lot of times. I don't always enjoy the struggles of having to spend hours learning new words and their derivatives and genders, especially sometimes when I see no end to them. [Even though I understand how languages make you grow, the more the better in the Ludwig Wittgentstein way: "Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt" ]. Speaking is a bigger horror. Because as an adult I am too aware of making mistakes. I was sensitive even as a child. Makes me feel pseudo Japanese at times, with the whole thing about not wanting to make mistakes. When there is no perfection. Recently I said un-big for small. In English. I thought for several moments on why English wrote ceiling not as cieling [ Give it to a Deutsch person]. And laughed then at myself. That perhaps is also the charm of a new language. The liberation that eventually we all start with errors.

The movie made me aware of these weighted struggles, and watch them curiously and be able to empathise. I've had that coffee episode happen to me a thousand times over, and not just with coffee [see trailer]. The movie manages to do this even with a few scattered stereotypical notions, which didn't bother me really, because the interpretation through the actors was so refreshing [I love Sridevi in it]. I even liked the sound track. The no-nonsense goal based learning approach. And the learning intent to feel equal - as a self-image enhancer. Even though falling in love in French or Hindi didn't quite necessitate a mediation in English oder Deutsch.


  1. I loved the movie too! especially for its simplicity sans any preaching. plus sridevi is too awesome!
    I could relate to the tendency to correct someone who is speaking a foreign language (the scene with the domestic help - gift wrap). Also not coffee but other checkout mishaps have happened with me, when all I did was just stare at the lady on the counter without telling I did not understand the accent she spoke in :)

  2. I too loved the movie. It struck a chord. ∞ © ∞


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...