Being an Asian Indian

Being an Asian Indian (non-native English speaker), I initially found it really amusing as for how the British and American English vary so much, how the same words and phrases in both the dialects have different meanings. We (Indians) use Indian English that is a lot different from what British or American English is and the same goes for Philippine, Canadian, Austrailian English and so on. I recently started contributing to a very popular open source software, Zulip that has gained a lot of momentum since September 2015 soon after it was declared as open source. While collaborating on a global platform, where people from all over the world work together on a single project over platforms like GitHub and Zulip chat, I understood what a very known principle of linguistics, known as the cooperative principle, means in real.

According to the Wikipedia, this principle describes how effective communication in conversation is achieved in common social situations, that is, how listeners and speakers must act cooperatively and mutually accept one another to be understood in a particular way. It explains the Grim's Maxims - Maxim of Quality, Quantity, Relevance and Manner, which can be inculcated while writing publicly in order to communicate well with people from diverse places, cultures and backgrounds, in such a way that it is not misinterpreted or taken in a bad spirit. I found this to be a really very powerful yet an underrated skill that I think we all need to work more on if we want to successfully want to write good code and work together as a team. Not only this is useful while working on the open-source platforms, it can possibly help us be better bloggers, speakers and maintain any kind of online business like online magazines. Since writing skill is all that we have when it comes to express ourselves to the internet community, showing a little generosity and courtesy can surely take us miles ahead.

I would like to thank Sumana Harihareshwara for motivating me to write this. I hope it reaches out to many more through this.
Written on October 30, 2016