Loving and learning Bangla as mother tongue

Protiva Rani Karmaker

28 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Loving and learning Bangla as mother tongue

“Language Learning” has a deep rooted association with “Globalization and Modernization”. The genius of language is that it helps us to reveal our mind, to speak of our experiences, our dreams, our anguishes, our apathy and, of course, our responses to the current affairs we are passing through and our directions to change the world and colour it with imagination, thought and witty insight. Needless to say, language is a powerful weapon to win the world as viewed from the ancient history. We see that when mankind began to use the language tool to form a formidable front, God was afraid and had cast them apart by separating them into many languages. Amongst these many languages, ‘mother tongue’ is the natural power we learn through acquisition, and like our mother it is the most known and overtly used medium of expression of the people surrounding us. Since the origin of Bangla, its three styles or manners–Sadhu (formal), Chalita (informal/ colloquial)) and regional (dialect) have been introduced. This paper focuses mainly on the reasons of learning standard Bangla language with more emphasis.

As quoted by Nelson Mandela “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head but if you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.”  Love and Respect for our own language spring from our heart. Surprisingly many of us believe that to claim ourselves smart and proficient enough, we need to master skills only in English or other foreign languages. There is no denying of the fact that the first step of success for any human being lies in his/her excellence to uplift the image of own country’s language, culture, history, science and economy . How can we uplift the image of our sweet mother language Bangla when we have no idea about its proper use? In any language there are four skills, like Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. It seems tragic when we face some native people speaking distorted Bangla, some children remaining ignorant about many Bangla words as they are studying in English Medium Schools or some other native speakers speaking with mixed languages like Bangla with English. Many of us even do not know how to type in Bangla on computer screen. Typing in English seems to be easier to them than typing in Bangla words. In Face book or other social media we most often express our feelings in English. We should not forget the history of Language Movement that began in 1948 and reached its climax with the inhuman killing of 21 February 1952, and the result of which is our achievement of Bangla as the state language. None could snatch it away from us. So we should love our language. Here loving means caring, caring means knowing, knowing means using it properly. Actually mother language is like a tree. It may hold a lot of leaves but the feelings are same as the root. Our root is Bangla language. Our official language is Bangla. That’s why, there should be a Compulsory Course for Bangla Language (CCBL) for the undergraduate learners or officials. Moreover for the foreigners working here we can offer such courses in Bangla language. It will connect them with us in a friendlier way.

At last, we can say that learning should not be limited to one point and so we will be learning other languages only after our orientation and continuing practice of Bangla as it is our Mother Language.


The writer is Director & Associate Professor of English at Institute of Modern Languages (IML) of Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.