KSBC and ‘bad English’

Today’s newspaper reports that the 13 members present in a special meeting of the Bar Council of Karnataka (KSBC) unanimously adopted a resolution to remove its chairman Anandkumar Appu Magadum. They voted against him for ‘bad English’ as he was not even able to properly read out the farewell speech for former Chief Justice Jagadish Singh Khehar and welcome speech for Chief Justice Vikaramajit Sen. Senior advocates said the KSBC president’s speeches had brought disrepute to the organisation, which controls the entire legal fraternity in the State. “… you have made a mockery of the entire legal fraternity by your bad pronunciation and speech,” the members have said in their letters written since November 8, 2011.

This is for the first time in the 51-year history of the Bar Council that its chairman has been removed through a no-trust motion.

Business of teaching spoken English seems to be doing well, as demonstrated by the growing number of such schools and their big claims advertised in poor English. Google search on ‘teaching spoken English’ gives about 23,600,000 results (0.25 seconds.) The fresh ex-Chairman of the bar council could start a new institute to teach English.

Some businesses do better not because of their effectiveness, but because many people drop out without completing the term. People are hooked by the promises and are disenchanted when they realise that they have to be committed and need to put own efforts to learn anything.

Often we meet people who say that their English is not good as their medium of instructions in the school was not English, but their mother tongue. Such people are often poor in expressing anything clearly in their mother-tongue either. Formulating ideas with logical thinking and a desire to share knowledge are the core ingredients to make one proficient in speaking any language. If one develops these skills, learning a new language would become easy. Language is only a tool to translate our ideas in to words. Ideas develop in our minds, talk and writing. The tool itself does not come with ideas; we have to use the tool to model our views.

Seven Languages in Seven Weeks is a book that teaches seven programming languages in seven weeks. It is possible to dabble with seven new languages in seven weeks only if we already knew seven other programming languages. If this is our first book on programming, we can’t learn even one of the languages in seven weeks.

Dr. Richard P. Gabriel is a Consulting Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, a researcher at IBM Research, lead guitarist in a rock ‘n’ roll band, a poet and a writer. His website, Dream Songs, gives very interesting insights on how software profession relates to other disciplines. He states:

“Writing code certainly feels very similar to writing poetry …  It’s the same kind of concentration … if you look at the source code of extremely talented programmers, there’s beauty in it … Yes, writing code and writing poetry are similar.”

Richard Gabriel has launched a program named Master of Fine Arts in Software similar to programs that offer MFAs in creative writing.

The real problem with many is not their problem with English or one specific language. It is a lack of interest in modelling our thoughts. This is a skill we can learn.  Speaking in English is like speaking in Kannada or Tamil or Telugu … Head of some other august body may as well get unseated for being unable to speak his or her mother tongue. Disgrace would be equal for “bad pronunciation and bad speech” in any language.

The great British 18th century writer Samuel Johnson once said that “the greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write.”

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About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
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One Response to KSBC and ‘bad English’

  1. vidyuts says:

    PG,
    Wonderful thoughts on ‘Spoken English’. You have so correctly mentioned that we think in a local language and transliterate into English. Articulation was never a strong point in our society. Sadly all of the ‘Spoken English’ courses harp not on correctness but on copying different accents. The curious mixture of tenses in our speech remains rampant despite all those courses. I believe that the inability to speak correct English is a major obstacle for India calling the shots at international fora. Incidentally, I do not believe that we are fluent even in our local languages.

    Like

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