By Sadiq Ullah Khail
Apart from other barriers, we face linguistic barrier as well and this barrier leads us to imprison our talent and knowledge inside our corporal frame, our body. It induces inferiority complex and discouragement in us. No doubt, we have knowledge as well as talent but, unfortunately, we have no medium through which we can shape and convey our abilities, and that medium is language. The grip on any language is a phenomenon which imparts charm and confident to the personality who have it. By language barrier or linguistic barrier I mean to say that those students who belong to Chitral and have done or still doing their primary education from institutes belong to the same region or any other region of KP province, are not versed in the languages spoken at national and official levels, like Urdu and English, and these are the languages in which the secret of leadership and bright career is hidden. Due to this language barrier we become literate dumps, particularly, in the situations where our native or local languages, Khowar or any other local languages, are inapplicable and the situation demands us to express ourselves either in Urdu or English.
This linguistic barrier does not only create problems for the student only, but rather it teases every educated individual of the region who has obtained his/her initial education from KP province. Due to this problem people, even our political leaders cannot express themselves effectively in assemblies. Allahamdulillah, in other matters our political leaders and representatives are as bold as Leone but when it comes to national and official languages, I mean when they need to speak in Urdu or English, they become as timid as fox and they regret on their nomination, for awhile.
The purpose of this article is not to satirize our leaders on the bases of linguistic barrier, because we all are same in this regard, but its purpose is to highlight the causes behind this barrier which has blocked the ways of our bright future and to suggest some possible solutions to resolve this problem.
What I believe about the factors which cause linguistic barrier for us, are many in number but major factor among them is our medium of instruction in schools. Apparently, our medium of instruction in schools and colleges is Urdu or English, but our respected teachers or educators prefer our native language over the languages which have been officially imposed as a medium of instruction by the government. They feel easy to speak in the native language because they also have the same problem. They themselves are not versed in the languages which are supposed to be medium of instruction in the educational institutes therefore they prefer local languages in class rooms for the instruction purpose. The teachers, even, teach language subjects, like Urdu and English, in the native languages. As a result, the linguistic abilities of the students remain shabby and unpolished and, finally, at later stage it causes language barrier for them.
According to Psycholinguistics a child can acquire any language perfectly up to the age of eight years and this time period is termed as “Critical Period” and it is too short for us to acquire any second language, either national language or the official one, fluently. As we are left with no choice, neither our society nor our educational institutes provide us with the environment where we can learn the prestigious languages and can uproot the barrier of language for good.
As for as my opinion is concerned, to resolve this scourge there are two possible solutions, one can be applicable at primary level and the other at secondary level. First, the government should appoint teachers who must have grip on national and official languages and formulate strict rules regarding the implementation of languages which are implemented by the government as medium of instruction. Teacher should be forced to speak in the official medium of instruction while having classes. In this way an environment can be build that will be helpful for the students to develop their linguistic abilities and it will help them to score linguistic confident with the growth of their academic career. This is how language barrier can be ousted at primary level. Secondly, student should be encouraged that what they speak and how they speak the national and the official language is right. They should be convinced that “Perfection lies nowhere” Such encouragement will help the student to overcome their linguistic inferiority and to feel confident.
If we have to cure the disease of our linguistic inferiority either we’ll have to learn the prestigious languages perfectly or we’ll have to ignore the linguistic parameters, as syntax, grammar, phonology, genders, etc, of the languages. Besides, there is no middle option for as.