Tongue tied and accented

Y Merina Chishi

A professor once told me that he was rich in a way no one else was. He could speak half a dozen languages and could have a decent conversation in several others. The task of learning a language becomes easy if one starts early in life. However the case is totally the opposite for some Nagas.

Take the matter of sounds of a language for a start. For some ‘Axone’ becomes ‘Akhuni’ and ‘Etsuk’ becomes ‘Esuk?’ Nagamese becomes French “Moi na… uh...uh” and improvisation of Nagamese ‘morom-ness’. The tongue starts rolling and plenty of thinking and energy is put into bringing out the stylish accent. While some speakers preserve their accent, others strive hard to change them which of course is a good thing, but some try too hard. Some people deliberately use obscure words to impress. With such rich vocabulary and free flowing mother tongues, we ought to have it at the tip of our tongue. A tinge of English with added bonus of spurious accent when speaking in ones mother tongue becomes rather trite.

A friend of mine left for the United States eight years age and even after all these years, she still uses familiar Naga phrases. Hello to all the Pune, Shillong, Delhi returned! All this smugness in a way throws light on how ‘Mother Tongue tied’ some of the Nagas have become. I am not criticizing; I’m merely observing the facts.

Our Mother tongue is not for actors. For all tend to destroy its essence…remember that in England even fools speak English! So the next time your good fortunes take you outside, bring back excellence and utility and please done leave your mother tongue behind.