Mother-tongue is the language that a child learns in his mother’s lap. It is the language which the child learns almost without any conscious effort on his part. It is a language which the child acquires while living in his own social group.
Importance of Mother Tongue in Education
Mother-tongue plays a tremendously useful role in the education of a child. It has a great importance in the field of education. Therefore, mother tongue must be given an important and prominent place in the school curriculum.
Specifically, the importance of mother tongue is due to the following reasons:
1. Medium of Expression and Communication.
Mother tongue is the best medium for the expression of one’s ideas and feelings. Thus, it is the most potent agent for mutual communication and exchange of ideas.
2. Formation of a Social Group.
It is through language, and especially through the mother-tongue, that individuals form themselves into a social organisation.
3. Easy to Learn.
Of all the languages, the mother-tongue is most easy to learn. Full proficiency or mastery can be achieved in one’s own mother tongue.
4. Best Medium for Acquiring Knowledge.
Thinking is an instrument of acquiring knowledge, and thinking is impossible without language. “And training in the use of mother-tongue-the tongue in which a child thinks and dreams-becomes the first essential of shoaling and the finest instrument of human culture.” (P. B. Ballard.)
It is therefore of the greatest importance for our pupils to get a firm grounding in their mother-tongue.
5. It brings about Intellectual Development.
Intellectual development is impossible without language. Reading, expressing oneself, acquisition of knowledge and reasoning are the instruments for bringing about intellectual development; and all of these are possible only through language, or the mother-tongue of the child.
6. Instrument of Creative Self-Expression.
We may be able to communicate in any language, but creative self-expression is possible only in one’s own mother tongue. This is clear from the fact that all great writers could produce great literature only in their own language.
7. Instrument of Emotional Development.
Mother-tongue is the most important instrument for bringing about emotional development of the individual. The emotional effect of literature and poetry is something which is of vital importance in the development and refinement of emotions.
8. Instrument of Growth of the Pupils.
The teaching of the mother tongue is important because on it depends the growth of our pupils. Growth in their intellectual life ; growth in knowledge ; growth in ability to express themselves; growth in creative and productive ability-all stem from the mother-tongue.
9. Source of Original Ideas.
Original ideas are the product of one’s own mother tongue. On account of the facility of thought and expression, new and original ideas take birth and get shape only in one’s own mother tongue.
Thus, mother tongue has tremendous importance in education and in the curriculum.