Anecdote – My Language

My parents only spoke Hindi to me when I was born, yet strangely 16 years later I am completely unable to use that language. This was probably because from a very early age, my parents put me into an international school where I was surrounded by more western communities.  Generally, throughout my life, I only speak in English, but I have noticed that my dialect (e.g pronunciations, accents) have slowly tranformed overtime.

When I was younger my English accent was strongly influenced by Hindi,  creating a form of dialect known as Hinglish. The pronunciation of my W’s and V’s would be occasionally mixed up, and generally, my tone fluctuated more often. Surprisingly, I found that in old videos my accent was leaning towards being British rather than American.

Overtime, when I joined UWC and was surrounded by a variety of different cultures, my friends, teachers, and all the people around me heavily influenced my accent which I would say sounds more western. After a while, my parents stopped speaking to me in Hindi, and this created such a significant impact that overtime I pronounce my name differently to how it is supposed to be pronounced, and so much so that it feels weird for me to use the original pronunciation of my name.

This may have a significant impact on my identity, I feel that I have strayed away from my origin and that makes me feel conflicted and lost. I still visit India a lot and I am surrounded by it’s culture, but I feel more disconnected from what surrounds me, for example, when I travel to India I sometimes do not understand what people are saying and also feel outcasted when they hear the way I talk.

My Indian origin will always be apart of my identity, but I feel like my language and dialects reflect another aspect of my identity that make up quite a big part of it.

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