From Himal Southasian:
The interaction of English and the languages of Southasia is often lamented for having led to a deterioration of the latter. But focusing on this alone misses out on what has been accomplished through this linguistic collision.
The encounters between local languages and English the world over have generally given rise to two kinds of stories. One, spawned under colonialism, has been elegiac. It has mourned the encounter, in which English has come out a winner at the expense of the native tongue. The Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o represents this first type, having written extensively about how his native Gikuyu wilted under the onslaught of English. The linguistic battle, he warns, is a reflection of the wider struggle between traditional communities and the powerful colonial social engine.
The second kind of story also has a melancholy beginning, thanks to its colonial origin, but it also attempts to move further by recognising the interactions that take place between languages. The Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe falls in this category. In his novel No Longer at Ease (1960), for instance, the linguistic battle (in this case between English and his native Ibo) is projected onto the domestic sphere in the form of a division between an instinctual, oral space and a rational, practical space – which Achebe further distinguishes as maternal and paternal, respectively: