Mother tongue is the actual identity of a person. It is the connection between the child and his motherland.
Like mother's touch and mother's milk, mother tongue has no substitute.
Mother tongue, as the term suggests, is closest to a person's heart. Like mother's touch and mother's milk, it can never find a substitute. Psychiatric research shows that a hearty conversation in one's mother tongue gives a high to a person in distress. Modern psychology also lays tremendous stress on a child's connection with the mother tongue. Having realised the significance of the mother tongue advantage, parents have started initiating their children in their native and natural language. Here are tips to help parents, especially those Indian parents away from the motherland, to introduce their children to their mother tongue.
It is the connection with the motherland
Language is culture and culture leads to a civilization. Every language brings new and unique experiences, which are special to a particular type of people. Therefore, wherever you may be placed in the world, never lose touch with your native language. As parents, you have to consciously talk and communicate in your language. This will help the child to nurture an identity for him/her.
We are lucky to be Indians
Can you imagine a nation with 16 recognised languages and umpteen dialects, each with a distinct character and identity? If you are teaching your child to speak in his native tongue, you are actually connecting him to a larger cultural spectrum. Your child will grow up with the right sense of pride for India, which is the current need of the hour.
Not just the mother tongue
Your efforts should not be restricted only to teaching your child his mother tongue. Teach him dialects and conversational idioms too. This will help your child communicate better. He is bound to be a richer person if you inculcate a love for language in the beginning of your child's life. Research shows that your child is capable of learning not just the mother tongue, the medium of academic instruction, but also five to six other dialects. A child's brain has tremendous scope for absorption in the initial years.
Medium of instruction can be different
If you are outside India, you are bound to teach the child in a foreign medium, probably English, as it is being fast accepted as one of the major international languages. Even if you are in a city like Bombay, you are bound to admit your child in an English-medium school. But, your home can still give a place of pride to your mother tongue.
Let the child view the language situation in the right perspective
A balanced perspective will enable your child to learn his mother tongue with the right attitude. There should be no undue fanatic pride in one's language or culture; neither should there be an unexplained hatred towards other's language or religion. This attitude will give your child a sense of openness that will prove to be a lifetime gift.
Do not bother too much about grammar and academics
When you are teaching your mother tongue to your child, you should not be overly bothered about the grammatical correctness in a conversation. Let your child make mistakes and learn from them. In fact you should start teaching the language through nursery rhymes and hummable songs.