“Language is the expression of ideas by means of speech-sounds combined into words. Words are combined into sentences, this combination answering to that of ideas into thoughts.”
Henry Sweet, an English phonetician and language scholar. Source: Encyclopaedia Brittanica
Language is about learning new sounds, gestures, expressions and written characters through which we express and communicate. A significant part of our life involves language.
Language is powerful and a virtue to self-reflection and we use it to communicate in speaking, writing, and through visual expressions.
Language, of course, is knowledge, and in our world today knowledge is one of the key factors in building our careers and shaping our life. Language is obviously a vital tool. Not only is it a means of communicating thoughts and ideas, it forges friendships, cultural ties, and economic relationships.
The significance of language in our society is paramount. It helps us to maintain Social Contacts which in turn gives rise to social relationships. It helps preserve our culture and convey our thoughts as a cultural entity to other cultures.
Importance of Language Skills
Language is the means of communication for Human Beings unlike animals, who depend on sounds and gestures. Communication starts at home for a child with his parents, siblings, relatives, and visitors. The child goes to school and the breadth increases to include teachers and fellow students. Friendships are formed. In later life the individual goes for higher studies, finds employment, and settles down with his family. At the workplace he must interact with peers, customers, vendors and many more organization stakeholders. At home and surroundings, his interactions go beyond his family to include the social sphere.
Effective communication is essential, and it includes the four language skills, Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. A new skill called Cultural Awareness has been added to the fours skills to make it five. All the skills are important. Let us list their importance.
- Effective inter personal communication comes with proper language skills. It could be in the family, in school, college, the workplace or the society at large. A person is appreciated and admired as an individual if he has proper inter personal skills.
- Language skills are essential for knowledge. A person needs to study and work on his course curriculum. Weak language skills make it difficult to understand the subjects he is studying. We often find students unable to follow the teachers in classes not because of deficiency in intelligence but due to the lack of language skills.
- A grasp of the language is important in the workplace. A person needs to speak, read and write. It goes without saying that a lack of any of the components will impact performance of the individual.
- There are certain careers which are dependent on good language skills like performing arts, teaching, journalism, politics, to name a few.
- Language plays an important role in the development of a person’s behavior and personality, because communication is the ideal medium which projects us in front of others. A good command over the language helps in carrying oneself with confidence.
- Language skills helps an individual to understand his culture in terms of history, value systems, social norms, religion, etc. Language conserves our culture and helps to spread it as a culture carrier. An individual who understands and appreciates his culture interacts better with people of his culture.
In summary, we can infer that for success in life and career one needs to have a good grasp of language. It would be one’s mother tongue and any other language which is prevalent in the society and used in business and social transactions.
Importance of English
Currently there are 6500+ languages spoken in the world. Each and every one of them make the world a diverse and interesting place to live in. English is the most spoken and used language in the world followed by Chinese and Hindi. An average Indian speaks English. He also speaks his mother tongue and mostly understands or speaks Hindi, which is the National Language of India.
For an Indian professional, it is no denying that the knowledge of the English language is essential. Let is look at some of the reasons for learning English.
- English is the Language of International Communication
It is projected by British Council that by 2020, two billion people in the world will be studying English. English is not only spoken widely across the world; it is the second language of choice across many countries. By knowing English, you will be able to communicate with fellow global citizens with ease.
- English is the Language of Business
English is the language of choice in many companies across the world. Many MNCs have mandated English as the official language in their offices throughout the globe. Most business communication happens in English and in India.
- Speaking English gives you Access to a World of Entertainment
Knowledge of English opens the doors to a huge entertainment content consisting of films, books and music. Not only that, key works in any other language other than English is translated or dubbed in English. Through this mode of learning, you enrich yourself in greater cultural understanding.
- Learning English gives you Access to more of the Internet
English is the language of the internet. An estimated 565 million people use the internet every day, and an estimated 52 percent of the world’s most visited websites are displayed in the English language. Learning English is important as it gives you access to over half the content on the internet. Knowing how to read English will allow you access to billions of pages of information which may not be otherwise available.
- Popular Language in Indian Academics and Business
English remains a popular medium of instruction in Indian Academic institutions. For higher studies, it is important to know English as most good books are in English. The Indian work place has English as the most commonly used language and it is essential to know the language well to be successful in one’s career.
Picture of London, United Kingdom
How to Improve English
Follow the basics of improving any language skills and apply it to English.
- Improve upon your Listening skills by listening to music, watching movies, news, entertainment programs. Attend plays, exhibition, and talk shows.
- Speaking skills can be improved by talking and recording yourself and listening to it and doing it over again. You can interactive sessions on social media through voice chats or calls or just having conversations in English with classmates, friends, and families.
- Developing Reading habits through reading books, E- books, articles on the web can surely improve your English
- Make a habit of Writing down words or expressions, record them in a diary. You can post comments on blogs and chat with friends in English.
- Finally if you feel you really need help in improving your English, join a formal course and learn the language in a structured manner.