Language Not To Be Taught But Caught

Articles

Language Not To Be Taught But Caught

By Prof. Dr. Satish Rohra

Certain activities in life are not learnt - viz. eating. walking, sleeping, loving and speaking one's mother tongue of L1 (first language). There are certain things which can be done only by learning - viz. cooking, dancing and speaking a new language or L2 (second language).

Nature has bestowed upon us certain organs like the tongue, teeth, lips, mouth and the vocal chords, so that we can speak in many languages, and except our mother tongue, we have to make efforts to learn other languages. L1 means a child's first language, to which he is exposed right from the time of his entry to the earth; and the reason for calling it one’s mother tongue is that the mother expresses herself and speaks to the child in this language for the first time.

A mother tongue is that language in which a mother expresses her love and a father his care and atention; and this is the language which is also spoken by other family members of the child throughout the day, at home. The child keeps listening to it very often and therefore learns it without being taught formally. Howsoever difficult the first language may be, the child doen not find it so, because he does not make any effort to learn it. It is a language which is not taught, but caught.

The Sindhi language will also retain its existence and identity only when it is spoken in a natural way i.e. it is spoken without being learnt. Our efforts to make a child speak in this language will also bear sweet fruits only when a mother will talk to her child in Sindhi while giving him her motherly touch and a father while showing his care and concern.

We should not forget the fact that no child is bestowed with the efficiency of speaking in his mother tongue right from birth, but he picks up that language which he hears in and around his family. Instead of pointing out one finger at our children and saying 'they don't learn the language', why do we forget to look at the other three fingers pointing to us and reminding us that we don’s express our love, care and concern in the Sindhi language?

The Sindhi language is meant to be taught to Sindhis but it is something which should be caught by the infant from his mother and father and their parental love and affection.