'My girlfriend and I fight over language issues...'

Dear Diana,
My girlfriend is from Himachal Pradesh. She moved to Mumbai a year ago for better job prospects. Her English, however, is not good. She understands the language and can speak it as well, but messes up on the grammar and pronunciations. I often correct her. Initially, she was eager to learn, but now when I correct her it is a cause of concern. She ends up fighting with me.

Illustration/Amit Bandre.
Illustration/Amit Bandre.

This irritates me and we end up squabbling and not talking to each other for days. I do not want this to be a major cause of rift between us. I understand that she will take time, but there is no need to take offence about it. How do I explain to her that what I am doing is for the good of her? Should I tell her to enroll at an English-speaking class? Lately, she has been telling her folks that I am ridiculing her which is not the case. I am just giving her a helping hand.
— Dhiren

Dear Dhiren,
You feel you are constantly correcting her for the betterment of her, but she is taking offence. It could be due to the manner you are telling her. It is causing her anguish as she feels you are ridiculing her. Are you saying it while laughing aloud at her mistakes? Or keep making digs about it later? If so, stop doing it and instead just point out what she said wrong.

If you think things are going downhill because of the language issues, it is better she joins a coaching class to improve English. It will be more professional and then she will not feel that you are berating her. You also need to tell her that for better job prospects it is imperative that she get a grasp of the language well. Her folks also need to be told that you mean no ill-will towards her.

Diana will solve it!
Write to Diana at, or fax her on 24150009. You can also post letters to Dear Diana, Mid Day, Peninsula Centre, Dr S S Rao Road, opp Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Parel, Mumbai 400012.

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