Clarity needed on concept of mother tongue


Kunwarbir K B Singh

Published: 4:03 AM, September 20, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, September 21, 2013

The concept of mother tongue needs a rethink. As more families are speaking English at home, the traditional mother tongue languages are becoming a second language, and English a truer mother tongue.

This shift should be reflected in our policies, and our education system should be modified accordingly. Also, the general restriction of mother tongue as tied to one’s ethnicity is a narrow approach. I am all for bilingualism, but the way it is implemented must be reviewed.

What is the purpose of a second language? To give us a link to our roots, to help us economically and/or to help us become good communicators? Can everyone master two languages, and do we expect too much from our children? When there is greater clarity of these objectives in our education system, we would have a better understanding of what the solutions are to the problems at hand.

This was posted as a comment on todayonline.com/voicestoday