Many students from South India, are pushed back to final grades in national and international competitions, due to the lack of well pronounced so called “Good English”. Right after the independence, States of India were not giving much focus on absolute pronunciation of English. The influence of major local languages, like Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam provided a much different slang to their own English. For example, the word “Police”, in Northern States of India, pronounced as ‘Pulice’ and in Tamil majority states, pronounced as ‘Palice’ and in Kerala pronounced as ‘pOlice’ (giving more stress to O).
Is pronunciation important in English
My opinion is a big “NO”. English Bulls may disagree with me by pointing the standard language pronunciation in Webster's or Oxford Dictionary. My view is that, language is just a medium to communicate and pronunciation never becomes a barrier, if both ends can convey the ideas properly.
On my last visit to London, I have observed, English is being pronounced in its absolute rhythm only in countryside. City areas has got its own mixed pronunciation. Citizens from America, speaks American English, Australians speak Australian English, Filipinos speak Filipino English, Chinese speak Chinese English, Arabians speak Arabic English and real residents of London speak a cocktail of all these slangs.
Even though traditional English is not used, Americans, Australians, Filipinos, Chinese, and Arabians are very confident in using their own style of English while communicating with others. Unfortunately, Indians (especially Indian corporate and foreign trained Bureaucrats) are very keen in producing “Absolute English” not only from themselves, but also from their Indian surroundings. Students in some Indian International Schools gets fine, if they didn't pronounce Dictionary English.
English - A language under constant changes
During the British rule in many countries, English language undergone changes by adapting words from other cultures and languages. Even in present century, English is under stress from the attack of Social Networking Chat rooms. For example, In chat rooms, Good morning is ‘GM’, you is ‘u’, Take care is ‘tc’, etc. The chat room language is now flooding out to common use also. Recently, I received a request letter for emergency leave from one of my subordinates. He was on a hurry to airport and text me like this,
“As my modr z sik, im gonna cth d Amsr flgt thiz ev. pls aprv ma lv req- 4 5 dyz.”
On first reading itself, I got the real stuff, “ As my mother is sick, I am going to catch the Amritsar flight this evening. Please approve my leave request - for five days”. I accepted this request as per my organization policy, of conveying an idea is important and style chosen is secondary.
When English itself is under transformation, then Indians must develop ‘Indian English’ as a part of their career and education. If this is a huge task, then it is very necessary to give acceptance to ‘Hinglish’ (Hindi English), ‘Tanglish’ (Tamil English), ‘Manglish’ (Malayalam English), or any local version of English. Institutions, Organizations and Individuals must strictly avoid the habit of discouraging people who are trying to speak in their own mother tongue version of English.
Nukerule: Stay for thirty minutes in University of Cambridge Campus and listen to the English generated by students. One out of ten IELTS passed students, speak their own English. “ No fine - No rules”. Here, English gets the dignity, as the best that gives space to other languages.