English Composition 1
The Diversity of Language
Moving from India to the United States has a tremendous change in one’s life. Indeed, it is a new experience, but it is not until one move to another country that he/she realizes the differences in identity. New community, people, and culture affect the person’s life. Among them is communication. Language is the most important aspect that changes the identity of a person. Communication is important in India. There are many languages that are spoken in India; each state has its own language. English is also one of the languages that are spoken, but entirely different than the English spoken in the United States. Though English is used in both countries, it differs in social communities and families based on pronunciations, word usage, and social influences.
Before achieving its independence, India was under British control. Therefore, most of the aspects of communication are influenced by British customs. In particular, language has been the most influenced aspect in Indian culture. British English differs from American English mainly in pronunciation. If a person has lived one’s early life in India and moved to the United States, one can easily recognize the difference in his pronunciation. Most of the times, it is very hard to communicate, because of the different pronunciations used. British English pronunciation is thicker than American English. Therefore, British have stronger accents than the Americans. To the new Indian immigrant, American English sounds sloppier. To an immigrant from India, when Americans speak English, they can only understand part of a word. They say “only a little bit, half is swallowed.” It is because when Indians speak English, they sound all the vowels present in a word. They often sound out every letter in the word. For instance, the word “route” is often used in giving directions. In America, it is vastly pronounced as “raut.” In India it is pronounced as “root.” Also the word “schedule,” in India, is pronounced as “shedule.” This can generate misunderstanding and confusion between communications. Moreover, most people think British English is more formal than American English. Because when an American speaks English, they don’t focus on how they say it. What is being said is what matters the most. The English in India, grammar is important. In India, English is taken as a second language course. Therefore, whatever they learned, that is what they use to communicate when they speak. On the contrary, in the United States, people are not taught to speak in English; rather they learned the language as they grew. Therefore, as it is mentioned earlier, what has been said matters the most than saying it in the right way grammatically. For instance, if a person wants to say that he’s thinking of a friend, an American would say, “Say hi to him.” Whereas an Indian would say, “Convey my regards to him.” Therefore, one thinks that British English or in this case, Indian English is more formal than American English.
The meanings of certain words also differ in British English. That can also affect how the immigrant communicates. The immigrant might imagine something, while the American might imagine something else. For example, a “closet” in India means toilet, whereas in America it is a room where people store clothes. This situation has happened many times, but had turned into laughter. Another example is the word “bun.” The word “bun” is used for biscuits in India. The word “biscuit” is rather used for cookies in India. This word has often troubled many Indian immigrants when they go to restaurants. On the other side, there are some words that are not used in American English. The word “frock” is a great example. Frock is used in India for a girl’s clothing, but in America, people call it a dress. Therefore, some word meanings can also alter the message that the Indian immigrant is trying to convey.