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Mother Tongue


We think only about the importance of hereditary genes that have been passed from the parents to the child. We don’t understand that the language ‘sound of the mother’ has a profound effect on the child. That is why the term Mother tongue and not father-tongue is in the dictionary. Because, for more than 270 days the child hears the sound of the mother and so the mother's language has so much importance in the child's brain and behavioral development.

Later in the future the studies about twins will prove that one of the twin who speaks the mother tongue has better performance than the other twin who spoke a different language (like in Bollywood movies, situations where after the birth of the twins one twin being separated by a villain).

Mother tongue is very vital for children especially children who are born in foreign countries. Several scientific studies show that bilingual children perform better than mono-lingual children.

In USA and UK, children born to Indian parents have issues with mother tongue in contrast with children born in non-English speaking countries like Arab countries, African, European and South American.  This is because only Indians feel that English is superior than their own Indian language and so they appreciate their children when they speak English in USA or UK accent.

A child like any other adult values appreciation. As soon as the child understands that their parents are appreciating their foreign accent language, the child then eventually refuse to talk in their native language.

Indian parents are not aware of the reality that children identify with culture through language more than any other medium. So there is often conflicts between the parents and children during their teenage. That is the time the Indian parents cannot accept the foreign cultural behavior in their children. Just by giving Indian food and clothing, a child cannot be an Indian. It is the language that makes the Indian culture for that matter any culture of the world.

Pradheep's personal experience of visiting many countries and studying the second generation Indian children, found that in the parents dont feel proud of children speaking Arabic, or Italian or Spanish language. So the children automatically speak mother tongue. In USA and UK the children speak the local English language because, they appreciate the language over the mother tongue.

Will children get confused speaking two languages at young age? Children are smart unlike adults. If adults can talk without mixing languages with their children, then children do not get confused. Children get confused hearing a language spoken with words mixed up from two languages. Instead tell the child about the language being talked.

For example, Pradheep and Priya talked to their son only in Malayalam at home when he was young (born and brought up in USA). He is 13 now and is still fluent in the language. When he was 1.5-2 years old, they told the child that it is now "Tamil time" in the evening for one hour and started talking to the child in Tamil. Now the child is fluent in Tamil also.

Then when he was 3 years old, Priya made a Hindi speaking time every day for one hour and she made sure that she did not mix Tamil and Malayalam but spoke pure Hindi. Now the USA born child is the Hindi translator for his Indian born Dad.

Naturally when the child went to school and came back, started talking in American English accent. Pradheep and Priya did not appreciate it, but kept silent. But whent he child spoke in Indian languages started appreciating it. In few weeks time, the child left talking English at home, understanding that the language is only a means to communicate and not feel anything superior about a language over another.

Will child be not good in English written and spoken language if not speaking at home?
That is not true. Pradheep and Priya’s son who speaks fluently 3 Indian languages is equally good or even better than many single language English speaking children in class. This is a biased thinking of many adults. Pradheep rememebrs that he being born in Kerala and speaking Malayalam at home, scored higher in Tamil writing and reading than the Tamil native children in his class. Not only Pradheep, but also many of such Kerala migrated children at CMS (Coimbatore Malayali Samajam school) scored higher grades in Tamil than the single language speaking native Tamilian class mates.

If children are taught the pattern of language well in childhood (like number patterns), then a child can be good in written and reading in any language. (Click to know about efficiency of using patterns to learn science and math)

Another Personal research: Pradheep's cousins who grew up like him outside of Kerala, in Ooty-Tamil Nadu and Mumbai also had this mother tongue and cultural problems. He and his sister who spoke malayalam at home in Tamil Nadu, used to wonder why his Mumbai and Ooty cousins hated visiting Kerala during summer vacation. Those cousins who did not speak the mother tongue would nag their parents to leave Kerala as soon as possible complaining it was too hot and raining and boring in Kerala.

It’s all in the mother tongue. No matter his cousins in Mumabi and Ooty-Tamil Nadu ate Kerala food, they could not identify their cultural roots. They ended up marring Hindi and Tamil natives (nothing wrong about it, but their parents in old age are very unhappy about it).

Is my child slow in speaking because we speak two different languages?. Reasons for a child not speaking clearly even at age 2 or 3 are due to multiple reasons. In our experience priya used to talk with the child not about just things around, but would talk about her growing up in India and also about the stories connected with relatives friends and also of pradheep's family. Adults talking to children help in quick and strong language development. Now this fact is proved by research (Why talking to kids matters!). Do not think the blabbering and unclear talks of your child is because of being exposed to multi languages. Conversation matters!

We took our child to India when he was just 3 years old only. But we would often tell the child before hand the nature of the journey and all the challenges we would encounter. To our amazement the child did not give any problems in the journey. Many of our friends that time thought we were crazy telling all this to an infant and would arugue how would the child understand. It is basically how we treat the child, the child behaves.

Biased modern educated class: Modern educated Indians both in India and abroad do not have a clear vision in life (except to make money and destroy environment) because they have not imbibed the Bharath culture. Culture is very important to keep our mind cultured to enjoy the wealth of life. Without culture the mind will not allow anybody to have the peace of mind to enjoy the wealth that one makes. Read here about culture for children and adults.

  Modern science is amazingly throwing light on various questions about the mystery of life. But the research is not yet complete and so is the understanding. Unfortunately we take the half knowledge of science as the complete Truth. Latest scientific news throws light on this aspect. That is the reason that we should give importance to Ancient science, which has given all the Truths needed for the modern man. Modern Science "Re-searches", the old scientific Truths. Along with passing our hereditary genes to our children , we should also pass our "Heritage" too.

Read here the importance of Heritage.