A language is an essential tool for communication purposes. It is used for promoting peace and order in society. It is used for displaying authority and power, and for the obtainment of goals and objectives. However, language can also be destructive to society if it is used inappropriately. Language must be used following the conformity that governs the society so that conflicts can be avoided and the boundary of individual differences can be met. According to the framework of NCERT (2005),
“English in India today is a symbol of people’s aspirations for quality in education and fuller participation in national and international life … The level of introduction of English has now become a matter of political response to people’s aspirations, rendering almost irrelevant an academic debate on the merits of a very early introduction.”
The difference between language as a school subject and means of communication are as follows:
- Language as a school subject is mainly taught to learners so that they can learn a language to pass their tests whereas language as a means of communication is used by people to understand one another.
- Language as a school subject is more concerned with learning the grammatical rules, developing vocabulary, and enhancing the technical aspects of a language whereas language as a means of communication is acquired naturally.
- Language as a school subject is mainly learned for examinations but language as a means of communication can be learned by a person to learn about a different culture or to settle in a different country as well.
- Language as a school subject is more technical whereas language as a means of communication is more expressive.
- Language as a school subject may be learned by individuals as optional but language as a means of communication is necessary for survival.
According to Graddol (2010),
“Throughout India, there is an extraordinary belief, among almost all castes and classes, in both rural and urban areas, in the transformative power of English. English is seen not just as a useful skill, but as a symbol of a better life, a pathway out of poverty and oppression.”
He further added,
“The challenges of providing universal access to English are signiﬁcant, and many are bound to feel frustrated at the speed of progress. But we cannot ignore the way that the English language has emerged as a powerful agent for change in India.”