English language can be regarded as the most commonly spoken and understood
language in the world, with an estimated total of 1.5 billion people being able
to speak English. In addition to being the most commonly spoken and understood
language on the planet, it is by far the most commonly studied language in
schools. Which explains why most of the 1.5 billion people are not native
speakers of English.
with this ever-increasing number of non-native English speakers, there also
exists drawbacks to this increase in literacy in the English language. In
hindsight an increase in literacy is certainly beneficial towards a country,
but as it stands in this current state the local languages and dialects of
countries supporting English as the main language being learned in school is
deteriorating as we speak.
of this can be seen in Singapore, where in the 1980’s the government of
Singapore had changed their language medium to English (including former
Chinese-based schools). Due to this change in policy by the government, English
is the main language used for business and administration purposes such as
official government forms and surveys.
in Singapore, I myself was enrolled by my parents into an English medium school
during my kindergarten and primary school years. The one thing that stayed with
me was how the school system in Singapore had encouraged bilingualism with most
of the classes being conducted in English but they encouraged the use of the student’s
respective mother tongue through second language lessons as well as conversing
with the school’s staff in either English or their native mother tongue. However, I grew in a generation where English
was the most dominant and preferred language for speaking, as a result my skill
in other languages deteriorated to the point where I had to take extra lessons
to cope with mother tongue in school, this was a common problem in my school
with students taking remedial classes to manage with mother tongue as dropping
your mother tongue entirely was frowned upon.
extra lessons had put on an extra weight on my shoulders, which made me realize
what was wrong with my upbringing. Had I been more aware of my mother tongue
and not solely been using English to communicate with my parents and peers I would
not have most of the problems which I had faced growing up.