Communication barriers

English has become the most important language in the world. More than 80 countries are having it as first language and several other countries have English as a second language. A lot of NGO organizations also use English to promote and express themselves for their target groups. This incredible amount of people that use English has made the language the largest and most flexible social way to integrate

When I travel in Auroville, a lot of people interact with me, start to talk, smile at me, laugh with me and are always there when I need help. One time my motorbike stopped, in 30 seconds a man stood beside me and offered petrol. One time I needed a ride, I just put my thump up and someone stopped for me every time. People are helpful and want to interact with you. No matter if they talk English or not, they always find a way to communicate with you. When I on the Pongal day looked for dinner for the evening, an 80 years old man tried to explain himself just with his hands and gestures. He couldn’t speak a word of English. But he was happy to help me and in the end, I actually got it. Funny world we are living in, where you can let your body language talk instead of your voice. The question is, if this way to live and express yourself at will live or die.

When I talk about communication barriers I don’t necessary mean that it is a problem to have it. Of course it would be easier to reach your destiny in a cab if the taxi driver speaks English. Or your volunteer time would be more effective if the board of the organization was talking English. It would be easier and more sustainable. The taxi driver would not waste petrol going the wrong direction because of communication problems with customers. The organization would have a larger area to work with and become more global. Maybe their needs for volunteers would decrease.

After having studied nearly my whole life from the age of 6-23, I never thought about the importance of a common language. Language like English in school was never my favorite subject. But at last, my ears listen; my mouth wants to form the words and my eyes will follow the one that I integrate with.

At the same time, when I understood the importance of English I understood how the future will be. The knowledge of English is the future for sustainability. But we cannot allow ourselves to forget the generation before us. People need help with language barriers. The creation of a common language is like a big company that exploded and concurrent out the smaller ones. Every decennium, languages die out. At the same time, I cannot stop thinking about organizations, identities and cultures that will be lost. English is the future, but is it the right way? English helps us create the Global world, but do we want globalization? Since 1860 the globalization has created the best living standard for people in the history of humanity. But it has also created the largest inequality between people. Is globalization sustainable? I don’t think so. Globalization is like a bottle of water, and we have filled this bottle with 7 billion drops. How much more can we fill it before the bottle starts to be overwhelmed?

Anyway back to subject, should we kill and concurrent out the small companies with English, or should we start to think on a local level again? The Globalization and the common language is a way to socialize the humanity to be more common with each other. Do we want it? Or, do we want to have our own identity and create a world that are sustainability in the way it’s just are. A local place there we can live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities, all allow of different language, places like Auroville.

/By Filip Johansson, Linneaus University      

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