• G.Natrajan
    Sep 29, 2018 12:57 PM

    As a professional of Indian origin who has been working in France for the past twelve years, I will add my two cents here. First, learning a foreign language to the level of fluency that is required to do business in it requires prolonged exposure to the language. In other words, by doing short courses in French, German or Mandarin in India, you may learn a bit but are never going to acquire the fluency required to do business or negotiate contracts in these languages. You need to actually live in environments where these languages are spoken everyday to be able to learn them effectively. I find many Indians claiming to speak 'fluent' French after doing a few courses at the Alliance Francaise in India. How well such people can actually speak the language is anyone's guess. Such people do neither their own nor the image of India any good.
    In India then, the only 'foreign' language one can become fluent in is English. Even so, barring exceptions, the standard of written and spoken English among many Indians leaves much to be desired. The accent, use of Indianisms, and bad grammar often render Indians unintelligible to English speakers of other nationalities. It used to be a lot better in the 1980s and 1990s but my perception is that the increasing pervasiveness of Hindi nowadays has resulted in the standard of English taking a beating in India. Only cities like Chennai seem to be bucking this trend.
    I would urge my fellow Indians to learn English properly first. English is the only foreign language that we Indians have made our own, in some shape or form. And it has done us and our economy a world of good. Improve your accents and grammar, and make Indian English one of the better respected dialects. Mandarin, French and other non-native languages can and should come later.