Australian cricketer David Warner just asked Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma to “speak English.” This is offensive. It is also embarrassing. Hindi is one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world. There may be more native speakers of Hindi than there are of English, and there are considerably more cricket players in India than there are here in Australia. So cricket is discussed in Indian languages a lot. Indian’s discuss cricket in Hindi, in Bangla, in Tamil, in Panjabi, in Gujarati, in Bhojpuri, in Telugu, and many more Indian languages. Yes, they also discuss cricket in English.
Australia is located right by Asia—within Asia, even. Consequently, many Australians are learning Asian languages, to improve their employment prospects, to broaden their international outlook, and to better acknowledge Australia’s place in the world. As Hindi is increasingly recognised as a global language, a growing number of Australian students are adding Hindi to their studies.
Instead of getting upset when people speak a language you cannot understand, why not learn a foreign language yourself? There are so many benefits in doing so. If David Warner wanted to learn Hindi, He could take a course at the Australian National University, or in my program at La Trobe University. We could even teach him via distance learning. Anything to help him greet Rohit Sharma next time with a friendly “आप कैसे हैं?”
If you’ll excuse me. I think I should go work up a unit on “cricket Hindi” for my students this year.