However, this English obsession is not without reason. According to a 2013 report, individuals who speak English fluently earn 34 percent more than those who cannot. English is essential in today’s globalized work force, but language acquisition should be accumulative, not subtractive. Research shows that high mother tongue proficiency makes learning a second language easier and results in better academic performance. Rather than hinder children’s ability to learn English later, it establishes a lifelong linguistic and cultural foundation for them.
As more people turn to English, it is our responsibility to keep our mother tongues alive and teach them to future generations. With them, we pass down our culture, traditions, and history, which increasing cultural homogenization threatens to rob them of. So embrace multilingualism, whether that means returning to a childhood language or learning your parents’ native tongue. If we don’t, who will?
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Azam, Mehtabul, et al. “The Returns to English-Language Skills in India.” Economic Development and Cultural Change, Vol. 61, no. 2, Jan. 2013, p. 335–67.
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Daniyal, Shoaib. “Why Is India Obsessed With English-Medium Education – When It Goes Against Scientific Consensus?” Scroll.In, 6 Aug. 2020.
Hardach, Sophie. “In Quarantine, Kids Pick up Parents’ Mother Tongues.” The New York Times, Sept. 10. 2020.
Janyala, Sreenivas. “State Song Made Compulsory in Andhra Schools.” The Indian Express, 31 October 2009.
“Linguistic Genocide.” Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, 28 Mar. 2022.
Mody, Anjali. “India’s Obsession with English Is Depriving Many Children of a Real Education.” Quartz India, Quartz, 3 Sept. 2015.
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Nagarajan, Rema. “26% of schoolkids in English medium; nearly 60% in Delhi | IndiaNews.” Times of India, 3 July 2021.
“Madagascar: The Country”
By Soa Andriamananjara, age 15, Holton Arms School, Bethesda, Md.
To the average American, “Madagascar” is an amusing, animated film that tells the tale of four New York zoo animals who stumble onto the African island, Madagascar. For all the entertainment the film provides, “Madagascar” fails to bring awareness to its namesake island. “Madagascar” is a Western narrative that pushes the Malagasy jungle against the West’s cultural hub, New York City, emphasizing the idea that African countries lack civilization and modernity.
The movie’s depiction of the Malagasy people highlights this stereotype; the movie simply does not show any humans. The sole sign of humanity is a plane wreck in the middle of the island, which plays up the thought that only animals live there, even though Madagascar has a population of 22 million people.
The West thrives on its stereotypes of Madagascar. While the movie made $556 million, Madagascar has a foreign direct investment of $359 million. While the movie’s actors make millions of dollars, the Malagasy gross domestic product per capita is 596.35 USD. While Hollywood thrives, Madagascar is the fourth poorest country in the world. On top of Madagascar’s poor economy, climate change also impairs the country. Three years of drought and low rainfall exacerbate food insecurity and transform the lush island into a hot, brown dust bowl. Because of the famine, 3.5 million Malagasy people needed assistance from the World Food Programme. Just another hurdle to people already struggling.