Showing posts with label language. Show all posts
Showing posts with label language. Show all posts

Monday, July 30, 2012

English Language – The Global Lingua Franca

The English language is undoubtedly one of the most precious possessions of the modern human society. It is the English language that helps to create and strengthen a feeling of unity and oneness among the various communities and nations across the world, by facilitating international communication and interaction. It is this language that ensures that a man from China in Asia can communicate and interact with a person from Burkina Faso in Africa, or a gentleman from Argentina in South America can chat with a guy from Germany in Europe. 

It is this language that helps develop and preserve global unity, understanding and co-operation, in every field ranging from trade & commerce to science & technology.

Hats off to this spectacular Global Lingua Franca!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What is ENGLISH?

E = Expressive
N = Necessary
G = Global Harmony Facilitator
L = Lovable
I = Internationally Understood
S = Sweet
H = Hearty

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Key To Language Preservation - Speak It In A Liberal Way

The rapid globalization has resulted in an all-pervasive spread (or intrusion) of the English language. And it is a common knowledge that it has threatened the survival of a number of languages in the world. (However, the languages that are getting extinct or are on the verge of extinction are actually victims of inadequate speakers, and not of the “invasion” of the English language).

So how to address this situation?

Well, an ordinary person as I am, I have decided to show the audacity of presenting some suggestions.

I feel there is a very simple solution for the problem – the native speakers of a language should keep speaking the language in a liberal way.

Now, what do I mean by speaking a language in a liberal way? Well, it means speaking the language without getting too much conscious about its purity and sanctity. Rather you should accept the ground reality, and speak the language by borrowing certain terms and words from the global language, i.e. English.

Let us be practical. Evolution is part and parcel of every aspect of human civilization, and human language is no exception. Your love for your language is understandable. But if you follow a puritan attitude, and try to speak the language without any touch of the modern world, then that will be more threatening for the survival of your language. Because if a language (or for that matter any form of socio-cultural expression) tries to deny evolution by remaining stagnant, then its very survival gets threatened. Because stagnancy is in direct conflict with survival. A language has only two choices - either to evolve and grow, or to die a gradual death. There is no room for the third choice, i.e. maintenance of a so-called purity (read stagnancy).

And why should you feel that borrowing words from the English language will reduce the sanctity of your language? Rather it will further enrich your language. I can give the examples of three languages of India, all of which are known to be rich (actually all Indian languages are rich). These three languages are Hindi, Urdu and Bengali. Significantly, all these languages have borrowed a huge number of words from various other languages. In fact, Urdu itself was born as an amalgamation of seven languages. As a native speaker of Bengali I know how proud we are about our mother language. But incidentally the Bengali that we speak today is embellished with a number of words from Portuguese, Arabian, Persian, Hindi, Urdu, English and many other languages. The so-called pure Bengali that was spoken by our forefathers is long extinct. But we do not feel that by borrowing words from other languages we have reduced the sanctity of our language. Nor we have any embarrassment about it. Rather we feel that the “intrusion” of non-Bengali words into our language has further enriched our already rich language, and has also made it sustainable.

And yes, we modern Bengalis use many new English words/terms/expressions which our predecessors would not use even just 30-40 years back, like “globalization”, “global warming”, “Information Technology”, and so on. And in general the use of English words while speaking in Bengali has increased a lot. But this practice has neither threatened the survival of our language nor has reduced its sanctity. If we would refuse to include these modern words and terms in our language, then it would have reduced the expressive quality of Bengali. We would find it difficult to express ourselves in our mother language, and would be forced to resort to other languages completely. And it is in this case that the survival of our mother language would have been threatened. And why has the use of English words increased? Well, it is a direct result of globalization, which we can not avoid.

In fact, English itself has always been open to change, and has borrowed a lot from other languages, starting from Latin and Sanskrit to French, German, Hindi, and so on (the list is actually endless). And it is actually this that has made that language so rich and expressive. English would not have become the global lingua franca if its native speakers still tried to speak it in the way it was spoken during the days when England was called Albion. Why, today’s English is so different from even the way it was spoken at the time of William Shakespeare.

So my friends, let us take pride in our respective mother languages, and speak the same with pride and passion. At the same time let us not have any flawed sense of pride, which will make us too much puritan about our language. Let us be open to change, and let us make our language both sustainable and further enriched by freely borrowing from the English language. It will not reduce the status of our language in comparison to that of English. Because English itself is indebted to many of our languages.

Shed your flawed idea of lingual purity, and be open to words and expressions from English (and other languages). That will not only ensure the survival of your beautiful mother language, but will also make it more rich, more lively and more vibrant.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Should Tulu Be Made The Second Official Language Of Karnataka?

I am not a native of Karnataka, and therefore probably do not have the right to make any remark on this issue.

However, on the basis of common sense I feel that the Tulu language should be made the second official language of Karnataka. The state has sizeable Tulu speakers, mainly concentrated in the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. And one key town of the state where the language has a prominent number of speakers is Mangalore. In a nutshell, the Tulu language does have a strong position in Karnataka. And therefore that position must be duly recognized by giving it the second official language status in the state.

The step will also help the Tuluva people in carving out a separate identity for themselves, in a stark contrast to the present situation where they are often confused with the Kannadigas. And this in turn will also stimulate the thriving and nourishment of the Tuluva culture (which includes the famous Udupi cuisine), which is right now probably a bit overwhelmed by the Kannadiga culture.

Key To Language Survival – Let’s Make One Another Feel Proud Of Our Native Tongues

It is a common knowledge that many languages of the world are now facing existential threat. And the reason for the same is also well known. Actually the young speakers of many languages are now more into speaking English and/or other major languages, for both professional as well as social reasons. And this is naturally resulting in a reduction in the use of their mother languages, eventually resulting in a threat for their existence.

A host of international and national organizations and initiatives have been set up, which are trying their level best to ensure the survival of the “threatened” languages. Many non-profit organizations, groups and associations are also working hard on this issue. Opinion makers like educationists, litterateurs, etc. are also often found to deliver speeches aimed at motivating youths to speak their mother languages.

However, I have a simple formula. I do not know how much effective it will be. Nevertheless I will love to put it forward for the feedback and views of other people.

I suppose (and I know most of you will agree) that the best way to motivate a person to speak his native tongue is to make him feel proud of the same. However, a person might not be that motivated if his language is praised by another person from the same community, as the former might feel that the other guy is praising the language as it is his language as well.

But the picture might be very different if I find that a speaker of a different language is praising my language, and is also showing eagerness to know about the same. For example, I was always proud of my mother language Bengali. But my pride got a huge boost when, after settling down in Delhi, I came across a number of north Indians who kept praising the richness and sweetness of my language.

So my simple formula to make people proud of their mother tongues is – let’s start learning at least a little about other peoples’ languages (of course as many as we can), and then discuss a few words on his language when we meet a speaker of a language which is not exactly a major language. This might make him feel proud of his language, eventually enthusing him to take more interest in the same.

I know that even if the scheme gathers any success, it will remain a very insignificant effort. But even an insignificant effort is an effort all the same. Right?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Doesn’t India Have Even A Single Sindhi TV Channel?

Other day I was going through an interesting article named 'Sindhi culture is on a ventilator' in the Times of India (New Delhi edition. Date: 17th May 2010). It contained a touching discussion on the various factors that are causing the gradual erosion of the Sindhi culture. For example, the article highlighted how the “homelessness” of India’s Sindhi community (they lost their entire state to Pakistan at the time of Partition) left them “deprived of the patronage of a state government”, an issue that has understandably posed a strong existential threat to the community. The article also highlighted the reluctance of the rich members of the community in patronizing their art and culture, as they are more interested in setting up hospitals and educational institutions. The article also expressed pain over the Sindhi youngsters’ unwillingness to practice their own culture and language, which is certainly unfortunate.

However, what shocked me to no end was the information that there is not a single Sindhi language TV channel in India. Oh my God! While every other (so-called) major Indian language has at least 2 to 3 channels, then how come there is not a single channel in the Sindhi language?

I just tried to imagine a situation where there is no Bengali TV channel in India, and just that thought left my blood boiling like anything. Under such circumstances it is pretty well understandable how our Sindhi brothers and sisters feel when they find that there is not a single TV channel in their beloved language.

Is it so that because there is no State Government to lobby for the Sindhis therefore the Central Government is taking them for granted? I will request the stalwarts of the Sindhi community to immediately start lobbying with the Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry for launching a Sindhi language TV channel.

I will also request my young brothers and sisters of the Sindhi community to take some initiative to protect and preserve their beautiful culture. Yes, they might ask me that who I am to bother about their culture, given the fact that I am a Bengali. Well, I have a ready answer for that. Every Indian language belongs to every Indian community. And the corrosion of an Indian language is not a loss only for the native speakers of that language, but for the Indian community as a whole. The Sindhi language has its roots in the place which witnessed the genesis of Indus Valley Civilization, of which my beautiful motherland is a product. And that I am an Indian that is enough to justify my concern for the Sindhi language.