Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thinking in mother tongue - is it a myth?

I was awestruck when I wrote my previous article. It was a forceful experiment I did. The triggers of the article were all in English; I was filling the Visa application form in English, I was talking to my visa consultant in English, I was talking to inviters in English and so on. In compliance with my earlier observation, the article was running in English in my mind. But I decided to write in Tamil. How can I not write in Tamil, Tamil being my mother tongue, a language I am used to think in, comfortable writing articles in, converse and debate very well in and a language I deeply admire & proud of! How can I let my brain not listen to me was the question I had!  So, I decided to write in Tamil!

Hmm…. An article, that would have taken just 30 mins took more than 1.5 hours. I was thinking in English and translating to Tamil. I could not convey my emotions and thoughts that very accurately! The article was not shaping up well; readability and continuity suffered! I did not even know how to express certain things! I am sure, at other times, I would have conveyed the same in Tamil with ease! For example, "patriotism may appear to be an overrated virtue at the age of global village" was the hardest. I could have represented it differently in Tamil but finally I ended up translating and it did not give that strong feeling! I could not believe that I can struggle to write in my language!

I went back and read a few of my Tamil blogs to see if my language is that bad or if I struggled so much to convey my ideas. I realised that I did not have any difficulty in writing those articles in Tamil. In fact, I would not have been able to write them in any other language! Even the translations (that I moved to draft) were not that bad or difficult to write! Though I knew that the trigger of the article decided the language I write in, this discovery is a huge shock to me! I will have to check if there is any research done on this subject! Maybe I should write the same article in English too and ask people rate both of them!

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