Chintan Parikh
May 16 · 2 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by jaikishan patel on Unsplash

English — A second language

India was under British rule from 1858 to 1947. When British left India they had taken many things and left a few thing in India, one of them is English Language

The below quote from Lord Macaulay in 1835 explains why English was needed in India

We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect

And soon some loyal to British and some rebels started learning english.

Today English is a second language in India

English is a broken language

English only has 26 letters and there are about 43.5 speech sounds , trying to represent these speech sounds with just 26 letters makes it broken.

This means that if you come across a new word, you will not be able to pronounce it perfectly and if you listen to a new word you will not be able to write accurate. Concept of silence letters in spellings make this worst.

This is the reason why Spelling Bees exists and it takes lot of hard work to achieve it

Hindi is a stable language

Hindi is India’s first language and is spoken by 57% of India’s population.

Hindi has 47 letters and each representing a unique sound of their own. So it’s always pronounced the same way as it’s written and vice versa.

This is true for most of the Indian languages including Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Odia, Malayalam and Punjabi

Indians speaking English

Now we already know how Hindi and English are different at a very basic level.

Indians are used to the fact that we are each letter has a distinct sound of its own and when we try to apply this to English, we end up pronouncing it wrong.

Word “Medicine” is pronounced as “meh·duh·sn”, but you may find Indians pronounce it differently as “meh·dih·sin” or “me·dih·sin”

Another Example:
“Mojito” is suppose to be pronounced as “muh·hee·tow” but you may find some Indians pronounce it as “mo·jee·tow”


English is definitely the lingua franca for world and sometimes for India too. There is no way to avoid English , it’s part of our lives and will be.

English is not India’s native language , it’s our second language.

So it’s OKAY if you can’t pronounce english perfectly correct.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store