"Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.Â "
~Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Language is a vital tool for communication. It is not only a means of communicating thoughts and ideas, but it builds friendships, economic relationships and cultural ties. We can communicate only with signs without language. More over a language distinguishes the differences and also celebrates the uniqueness of cultures in a country or in a region or in a community. A Language shapes the way people perceive the world and it also helps to define culture of any society. Any language is a gift the knowledge of more than one language makes a man more efficient and skilful in many ways. It opens our minds and guides us into a magical world of fancies and dreams. To certain the proper learning of language helps us to develop ourselves, our minds, and also our personality. Human language is unique because it is a symbolic communication system that is learned instead of biologically inherited for some people.
Functions of Language:
The three important functions of a language are as follows:
The primary function of a language is to communicate any information. This function accepts or denies assumptions such as the scientific fact or the factual statements. This function helps us to state the logical facts clearly.
The secondary function of a language is to convey the feelings or emotions or attitudes of somebody. We have poetry and other forms of literature in order to express our inner feelings in a better way. They evoke our feelings and also express our feelings.
This function of language directs us to do some action. We come across directive function in requests and commands.
Hence it is proved that language plays a important role in different walks of life.
1.1.2 Importance of English:
English has been the considered to be the first global Lingua Franca. In today's modern world the English language has become part and parcel of every existing field. It has been an international language of communication, business, science, information technology, entertainment and so on. Earlier everyone is considered to be literate by their degrees and diplomas, but the knowledge of English language makes an individual literate in today's world. Though many countries do have English as their native language, those who have the command over the English Language are considered and respected as highly educated. Moreover they ocean of career opportunities are opened to those English speaking people anywhere and everywhere. It has become the working of English and also an inevitable requirement for a number of fields, professions such as computing and medicine.
In today's world of globalization, we have to get knowledge of advanced technologies and all kinds of branches of Science. There is an urgent requirement of such a common language which can be understood by youth all over India and the language in which all data and information is available. Moreover English language becomes a store house of social and political knowledge. The most recent and the most sophisticated discoveries and inventions in science and technology are being made in the universities located in the United States of America where English language is the means of scientific discourse.
The world of today needs English for some of the following reasons:
Due to the rapid growth of Information Technology especially the world of internet, English Language rules users of Internet. We cannot be effective in the internet world without the English Language. It has also become the official language of the internet. The advent of online universities has now made it possible for everyone to learn English. Everyone gets access to the features of internet even across the countries. The Internet has opened up new career opportunities for every citizen of the world outside their respective countries. Internet has also plays a vital to promote and to spread the English language throughout the globe and more and more people are exposed to the English language and the English has become also the language of the internet as well.
The field of education has amplified the function of English Language. Most of the educational resources, materials and books are in English. The global educational systems in the universities around the world have the requirement of English Language. People those who study in abroad use English language as a medium of communication and learning. The lack of English knowledge makes anyone insufficient in the realm of education in today's world.
The most important function of a language is to communicate properly. Hence English language also plays a powerful tool in communication. In order to communicate successfully, one needs a language that is commonly understood by most of the people in the speech community. For many years, English has become the common language globally understood and appreciated by nearly everyone. In other words English becomes an effective instrument to communicate with everyone around the world. Information technology uses this ability of English to function well in the field of communication by internet and emails.
English is spoken around the globe next to Mandarin Chinese. It has been stated that out of the nearly six billion people living in the world today around three hundred and fifty million do speak English. It has become the International Business Language. Many countries around the world make use of English Language for the governance. The relationship among the countries around the world is enhanced by the effective communication in English. Language differs from nation to nation. When we travel around the globe, the English Language becomes the rescue factor to communicate with everyone.
English language has been the language of business in today's electronic world. A good number of companies have ventured into sending the production to overseas in order to cut down their costs. In other words, the companies around the world are in to outsourcing and off-shoring business. In order to communicate with the business people of other countries, English Language becomes the effective tool. It is the trading language of the world to a certain extend. A sound knowledge of English Language makes an individual to be a successful business man around the world.
1.1.3 English Language in India
When the British started ruling India, they searched for educated Indian mediators who could help them to administer India. The British Government turned to high caste Indians to work for them. Many high caste Indians, especially the Brahmans and the other people of high caste worked for them. The British policy was to create an Indian class who should think like the British. It was said then in England "Indians in blood and color but English in taste, in opinions and morals and intellect". The English also instituted in India universities based on English models with emphasis on English. These Indians also obtained their education in British universities. The English Christian missionaries arrived in India from 1813 and they also established schools at primary level for Indians in which the language of instruction was local language and also they taught English. After that the missionaries established high schools with English as the language of instruction which gratified the Indians who wanted to study to have a sound knowledge of English Language. The British rulers started building their universities in India from 1857. English turned to be the first language in Indian education. The 'modern' leaders of that age in India also substantiated English language and stated it to be the main mean towards victory. Indians who knew good English were considered as the new elite of India. Many new schools were set up in which the language of instruction was English. According to the British government laws the language of instruction at university level was English and therefore schools that stressed English were chosen by ambitious Indians. Even after the independence of India, English continued to be the foremost language of India. Officially English language was given a status of an assistant language and was supposed to cease officially after 15 years of India's independence, but it still continues to be the significant language of India.
Even today the schools in India that give importance to English are considered better schools and the same is the case at university levels, even though there is a tendency towards Indianization. For a good number of students, English is their first language and it is easier for them to communicate, read and write in English than in Indian languages, including their mother tongues. In the 1970s and 1980s about one third of the Indian schools emphasized English as their first language.
We do have many Indians becoming more and more famous in the English Language and in the English Literature. They have also won a good number of International awards for their knowledge and the mastery in English. One most famous among them is Arundati Roy, who won the prestigious Booker Prize for her novel "The God of small things". English has become the language of the latest business management in the world and Indian proficiency in English has brought glory to many Indian business managers. English is a means not only for international commerce; it has become increasingly essential for inter-state commerce and communication.
1.1.4. First year college students and their standard of English:
The first year college students of India especially of Tamilnadu come from different medium of higher secondary such as English, Angelo Indian, Tamil, State Board, CBSE and other vernacular medium. Invariably the standard of the English of these students vary significantly. Most of them jump into the college life suddenly without having sufficient knowledge of English language. Though there have been English as a subject in the educational system for nearly ten years in the school life, their knowledge of English is very poor and insufficient. They do struggle in many ways to cope up with the College studies and they are disappointed. Many of them feel inferior and also do not put any effort to improve their standard of English language. Only very few of them come out of their nest and shed their tears to learn and to improve English. The causes for this condition of the students vary from individual to individual. Every student with insufficient knowledge of English so many things to share about it. Hence this study about the first year college going to students of Tamilnadu with a special reference to their standard of English, attempts to explore the hidden and unsolved problems in a significant manner.
1.1.5 Reasons for choosing this topic for my research?
After interacting and relating with the first college students all over Tamilnadu, I do feel and understand the struggles they undergo with regard English Language. Most of the subjects are in English and also the medium of instruction is English. They become inferior and also they do not find the way to improve their standard of English in order to cope up with the new academic life. Hence I have made this study to help them out in my own way.
1.1.6 Aim of My Study
My study thus attempts to render solutions to the problems faced by the students with special reference to English Language learning and communication. Though this study will not remove all the hurdles faced by the first year college going students, it will create an awareness to improve their standard. My study will also uncover all the hidden problems of them and show the reality without any prejudice. As future teachers and professors, we will understand our students in a better and help them out to walk towards the path of success.