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Vintage English
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!

The Language

English is a wonderful language. Lord Macaulay, in his much-maligned Minutes on Indian Education has said: We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother-tongue. We must teach them some foreign language. The claims of our own language, it is hardly necessary to recapitulate. It stands pre-eminent even among the languages of the west.

He does go on to list out the reasons of the supremacy of English. These reasons are many and varied. All are acceptable and of irrevocable quality. Yet, he did miss the most significant and enduring goodness of pristine English. This is the quality of English being a language with only a minimal of socially deprecating/dominating words and also words that lend holiness/supremacy to socially dominant persons. For example, in Indian languages, all communication are arranged and moulded by words that literally split the individuals of any social/professional/familial group on the basis of age, profession, social status, financial capacity, physical prowess, and much else. It is a very diabolical world that this type of communication creates, and lends to a mood of continuing mutiny, subjugation, opportunism, treachery, over-smartness, grouping, outsmarting, regimentation and indiscipline; and many other negative elements creep into the social communication.

I do not want to write more about these things here because these are things that I have discussed in my old book: March of the evil empires: English verses the feudal languages.

There are other wonderful features about the English language. One is that it is very easy to learn. Macaulay did stress on this, when he argued that the natives of British India should be taught English.

English is very easy to learn compared to so many other languages. It is like the modern software, as against the earlier ones. The earlier ones and even the earlier computers were very complicated to use. One needed a lot of extra knowledge to operate a computer. However, as computers grew in intelligence, the ease of use also increased.

Look at Cantonese. I do not know much about it. However, I have been told that there is an immensity of alphabets in this language. Look at Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and much else. The number of alphabets and their transformed forms are immense in number.

Now look at English. Just 26 alphabets. Most of current day human knowledge can be encoded into written text using these simple 26 alphabets. However, I must say that not all human knowledge and emotions can be encoded into written text using English alphabets, especially those connected to many non-English languages. In many ways, this incapacity only adds to the beauty and strength of English. For corroding social and human moods and communications cannot be encrypted into, or sensed by English.

There might be other languages of similar quality like English. If there are, they are also wonderful communication software, which can create and design superb social and human features.

In many ways, I would say that the growth of human intelligence is intimately connected to the growth of language. However, it may be seen that it is English that took the lead in creating new knowledge and its dissemination.This statement may create recriminations. However, there shall be efforts to qualify and justify this statement, in the succeeding issues of this magazine. For the time being, it may be said that the growth of human languages may even be connected to the progressively increasing capacities of the human hand over the generations. Well, this theme is well beyond the parameters of this magazine.

Book profile



Author: Somerset Maugham

The Story

Folk songs:

On the banks of Allen Water,

On the banks of Clyde

Excerpt: Magnus in The Apple Cart

English Colonial History:

Emancipation of slaves

Scientist: Sir. Isaac Newton

Geo discoverers: Captain James Cook

Film: The bridge on River Kwai

Actress: Vivien Leigh

Battle: Jameson Raid

Incidence: Nelson’s death



Popular songs: Jingle Bells

Place: Rocks of Gibraltar

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