Is good English a measure of intelligence?


When you have a group of friends from different countries, you tend to hear different accents in their conversations and there is strong possibility that some of them might speak broken English. Do you think that they are less intelligent than those who speak fluent English?

English is just another language. It may not be the most spoken language in the world but it is the official language in most of the countries of the world. Around 2 billion people speak English to communicate with each other on regular basis. It is the most universally useful, accepted and respected language - but a language nonetheless.


Being a Punjabi myself, I know Punjabi (my mother tongue) and Hindi (national language). Having taken IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) test to secure a place in Canadian School, I still feel that my English vocabulary is full of Indian English glossary. The English language spoken and written in India has been influenced by British English due to its historical background. On the other hand, American film industry has a great impact on Indian cinema goers as well. More and more people are coming in contact with American English. This has been adding a different variety to English widely spoken in India in different regions which differ in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and thought process.

Some differences I have noticed so far between American English and Indian English (British English):

Indian English (British English)

American English

Cheque Check
Colour Color
Standardise Standardize
Tyre Tire
Marks Grades
1st Standard Grade 1
Brinjal Eggplant
Ladyfinger Okra
Capsicum Bell Pepper
Groundnuts Peanuts
Soft drink Soda
At weekends On weekends
Colony Neighbourhood
District County
Dustbin Garbage bin
Flats Apartments
Give test Take test
Goods Freight
Gum Glue
Note (Currency) Bill
Petrol pump Gas station
Silencer Muffler

Apart from the above mentioned words, there is a big difference in pronunciation as well. American accent is entirely different than British and Indian accent. 

An American who is born and brought up in America has received his educational qualifications from American University/College in English. English has been his first language and he has been well groomed in it. It does not, however, prove the person's level of intelligence.

Proficiency in English, therefore, enables us to communicate and interpret our ideas opinions to people from any other culture and country. What it doesn't do is help make and cultivate those ideas.
What the above quote means is, a person may have a good command over English but this does not certify that he has got the brains as well. For example, I am writing this blog post in English but to create the content for the post, I need to think and a good English communication does not tell me what to write, think and believe. (I suck in both!) Japanese people are the perfect examples of intelligent and successful people who do not speak English as much as Americans do.

English language should be treated for exactly what it is -  a global language in which people from different cultures and countries can communicate in this increasingly globalised world. We should start accepting and acknowledging our faults and expertise and should not treat English as an elitist's language.

1 comment:

  1. That's true even I experienced that English language is like a bridge to communicate with rest of the world no matter how big or concrete the bridge is. A little hold can help u a lot.

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