Two simple questions

What does English mean to you?
What does English mean to the people in your country?

Answers please!

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5 thoughts on “Two simple questions

  1. Achyut

    Hi Stephen

    I am a 10th grader (native of Kerala) living in Maharashtra. I have been studying and using English from when I was 3 or 4 years old. I follow the CBSE board and according to me the standard of English set by them for the students is quite good enough.

    For me English has been part of almost my whole life. I am more acquainted to English more than my mother-tongue, Malayalam, or any other language. I have Hindi as my second language, but I make the most absurd grammatical mistakes in Hindi while speaking or writing even today, after learning the language for these many years. I had Sanskrit as my third language from the 5th to 8th grade in which we were taught the basics of the language and how to understand simple sentences spoken in Sanskrit. Though I have studied 3 languages at school, no other language has meant more to me than English (and of course my mother-tongue in which I speak).

    According to English means a lot to the upper and middle class people in India though I am not sure about what attitude do lower class people have towards the language. Not only India, but countries all over the world are developing the use of English to communicate among themselves. But what differs is the pace at which English is developing in these countries. In India, English has become a very important part of most aspects of life for middle and upper class people. But, my opinion is that English will be used even by the lower class people in the near or late future.

  2. Uma K Raman

    Dear Stephen,
    English is both bread and butter to me mainly as I chose to become a teacher of English ..and enjoyed every second of my stint as a High School teacher though challenges were numerous.
    I had the opportunity of teaching in schools in the interior of this vast country and my only regret is that the resources available today were not available then..but I am glad that teachers today have the opportunity to make use of the range of resources available especially in sites like teachingenglish etc.
    It is the people from the lower income who are really passionate about their children acquiring English because for them it could be a passport to a better life….I have been interacting with folks from rural India and many parents whose children are first generation learners do express this desire…

    1. Lakshmanan Krishnamurti

      It is amazing that English is still the mark of learning in India, perhaps like Sanskrit had been a couple of centuries ago. It is not infrequent to hear this comment in Chennai; He is a brilliant Engineer, but cannot speak a word in English. His grasp of Engineering is pretty much wiped out by his inability to converse in English with an OXbridge accent!.

  3. Carmen Rhor

    Hi Stephen, hi everyone,

    English to me means learning, culture, tradition, beliefs, institutions, …. the list continues, but above all it means how I make my own living feeling enjoyment and pleasure.

    This is Carmen from Lima, Perú and I have been an English teacher for over 32 years. Indeed, I still have the same passion I had the very first day I stood in front of my first students (much older than me) several years ago.

    Regarding my country, in the capital probably most private institutions teach English as part of their curricula and so do public schools (primary and secondary). In addition, at present in order to climb the ladder at work, most people know that English is a must. Last but not least, if believe everyone is aware that at present English is the language that helps the entire world to be in touch and keep on learning.

    Looking forward to reading other colleagues’ views.


    1. Kathryn Helm

      Hello Carmen,

      I found your name in letters on the internet about your teaching experiences in Peru. I am going on a mission trip to Peru in July. We are supporting a large orphanage there. They have recently built their own school building and the government is paying for the teachers. however teachers are not trained well and the director wants us to provide a couple of days of teacher education. I am a curriculum administrator and want to find out about the “Peruvian” government curriculum for Pre-school through 12th grade. Can you help me locate that — even if in Spanish, I will try to have translated. (i don’t speak spanish but will have translators)


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