Read the poems at your leisure

Buy the e-book version of the best of my poetry from on the following link and read the poetry you like, whenever you want.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lingua Franca

Chennai Speakers Forum
CC # 7
Lingua Franca
Do you know whats the difference between the words “I am” and the words “I do”?
Well.. the first is the shortest sentence in the English Language and the other is the longest sentence of our lives.

How many of you think that there is a difference between the English and the French language? The grammar between the English and the French Language?

Toastmasters,  we all are here , speaking a common language, creating history and giving birth to leaders, but have you for an instance, paused to reflect on why we use English as our language? Do you know the history of English? Would you like to join me in the quest to know more about English? [Expecting a yes/no]

Come .. Then let us join English in his home for a quite chat.[Move from one end of the stage to another].
3 generations of the family were living in a bustling city centre, a market place where people of all nationality were interacting.  The Father, his Son and his 2 grandsons .

I went to the Grandfather and asked him.” Grandpa, please tell us about your life.”  The old man smiled feebly and said “My child, I am more than 1500 yrs old and almost extinct from the real world. I was born when Britain was invaded by several tribes like the Angles and the Saxons. The Angles came from a land called Englaland and the language they spoke was Englisc. That is the root word from which words England and my name English has been derived. My parents were speakers of these tribes and with their marriage I was born.  Growing up, I was influenced greatly by a man called Latin. Almost half of my knowledge has been taught to me by him. No one knows me nowadays but my grandsons are very famous and widely known.”

His son, Middle English then took over [Move to centre stage] and said “My dad then married my Mom, a French lady who had come to Britain when French invaded England some 900 yrs ago. She was a member of the royal court where French was exclusively spoken. As a result of it, I became proficient in both languages. Most of my knowledge has deep roots in both my father and my mother. I frequently use the words envelope, bon voyage, café and so many more. I taught the great poet Chaucer- who is considered now as the father of English Literature”

The elder of the two grandsons Early Modern English came forward. He looked familiar and seemed to talk pretty much as I did. He added on to what his father had said. [move to other side of the stage]
“At the time I was born the British had just started their world conquests. That was more than 400 yrs ago. This bought them in contact with a wide variety of people. My mother was one such lady. I signed up for the British Navy and enhanced my knowledge with the languages of the other civilizations. During my time standardization of English came into effect. Grammar was perfected, spellings were corrected. The language of London was made the Language of English. That’s when my younger brother was born.”
 [come back to centre stage]

Surprise of Surprise, I saw my own Teacher standing right there. Professor, this is your family? I never knew. It’s an honour to meet your family Sir!!

The professor laughed  at me and said. “Rohit, the only difference between my brother and me are the words we know. I don’t want to brag about it, I do know more words than him!!!. Words for things the he didn’t have a word for. Like Yogi, Bangle, Chutney,Guru etc from Indian Origin”

“So now Rohit, do you think you know just 1 language” , he asked. I smiled up at him and said “ No sir, I know all the languages of the world, including English” J

Toastmasters, the English Language is a living , breathing, growing language. It was born out of a union of languages and keeps on growing by fusing with many other languages. There is nothing called as Pure English Language. Has that been the case, we would not have had so many revisions on the Oxford Dictionary.

There are more than 2 billion people speaking this language all over the world and more than 400 million people are native English speakers.

There are over 2,700 languages all over the world, but only if you know English would you be able to understand over 75% of all email communications, 50% of all scientific journals and 80% of all information stored on a computer.

English is slowly becoming the Lingua Franca i.e the bridge language or the connecting language all over the world and is our link with the rest of mankind. There are more than 500,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, but, how many of them do you know?


No comments:

Post a Comment