Theog: “Kiss the frog!” prescribed Dr. John Verghese, Principal, St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi and the chief guest while addressing the English language teachers from across the country assembled at Govt. College Theog for the National Workshop Talking The Talk: The Changing Face of Language at Govt. College Theog. The frogs as per Dr. Verghese are the weaknesses within us that all of us should identify, acknowledge, embrace and overcome.
The workshop was organized by The English Literary Society, Govt. College Theog in collaboration with The English Language Teachers’ Association of India (Shimla Chapter) on 15th December 2018. Prof. Girija Sharma, former Dean of Studies, Himachal Pradesh University, and the Guest of Honour on the occasion said, “The practice of translation has done a tremendous service to the evolution and expansion of the English language by adding new words and usages for culture-specific contexts.” In her introductory remarks, Dr. Kamayani Bisht, the organizing secretary and Assistant Professor (English), Govt. College Theog said, “Language change could be seen as an organic evolution of language where the fittest survive and therefore criticism of change could simply be a result of nostalgia.” Dr. Anupma Garg, Principal Govt. College Theog while felicitating the guests expressed a hope that such events at such mofussil educational institutions would help in bringing about a sensitization for a deliberate and a qualitatively aware use of language amongst the students.
During the panel discussion moderated by Prof. Meenakshi F. Paul, Principal, Center for Evening Studies Himachal Pradesh University, Dr. Praveen Kumar, Principal, Govt. College, Sarahan (Distt Sirmour) impressed upon how the evolution of the English language has followed many culture-specific trajectories resulting in many Englishes and several nuanced ways of using these Englishes. Another resource person, Dr. Vikas Dogra, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Himachal Pradesh University, delved on the importance of context and its effects in the use of language. He said, “While the language purists may always not agree with the use of language in the media, the evolutionary push and pulls of the ever-changing technology brings its own sets of changes. While the practices, including the use of language, in the print media took a long time to evolve and settle, the same will in the new media as well, once the initial rush has settled.” Mr. Anuja Sharma, Associate Professor (English), St. Bede’s College, Shimla, one of the panelists, highlighted the need for a change in attitude towards students of language within the classroom setting. In her concluding remarks, Prof. Paul said, “While we cannot resist language change we must not, especially as users of language, the basic etiquette, and aesthetics of any language use should not be abandoned in blind favour of change.”
At the beginning, Dr. Anita Sharma, Associate Professor (English), RKMV, Shimla and president ELTAI-Shimla welcomed the participants, the Chief Guest. Dr. Varghese, resource persons, teacher and student delegates to the workshop. This was the was activity undertaken by ELTAI-Shimla chapter.