04-06-2007, 08:47 AM
(This post was last modified: 04-06-2007, 08:57 AM by Bodhi.)
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There is a growing (natural or inspired) thought, that "good" future for India and Indians is only ensured by adopting the language of English as the primary language. I notice, many families for last 2 decades have started promoting English as the mother tounge of their children. Most 'elite' people, even very conservative in other matters, strnly opine on this matter, and generally support ENglish as the primary language of instruction. Many, in my observation, (still) feel that it is only English which has the caliber and strength, to keep India as one united nation and soceity.
But this self-sustained promotion of English language has a very far-reaching and deep implications on future of India. It is definitely worth exloring and analysing the progress of Indic languages (I am not referring to Sanskrit) vis-a-vis that of English in India.
I think this is worth analysis and discussion.
Let us begin with some facts:
- Only 5% population of India can speak, read or understand English.
- English is the language of elite, powerful, 'ruling class' of India.
- English is not growing in parallel to the growth of the Indic languages, but at the expense of them. Instead of complementing, English is competing with Indic.
- English is rapidly growing as the preferred medium of education, even at the primary level, driven by the economy.
- In B and C class cities, where the majority middle class of India lives, primary and secondary education is slowly being transformed into English-medium. However quality of language and instruction is very poor. This has impact on overall quality of education, and becomes a competitive burden rather than edge.
- There is a feeling that English can only be learnt if it is the PRIMARY language, thereby making Indic languages secondary or tertiary.
- In elite section of soceity, English is not just the language of instruction, but a trend is emerging for last couple of decades, where English is being promoted by families as the 'mother toungue' of children. Many times, Indic languages are taught just as a remote foreign language.
- At the same time, driven by cinema and telivision, a very un-cultured impure Indic language is being promoted. Those who watch Hindi TV channels, would probably know what I am talking about. Urdu and english mixed with Hindi, is what they call Hindi. And I am not referring to natural mixture of languages. I am referring to artificial, promoted, and deliberate bastardization of language. For instance, a few years back 'Samachar' was the common world for news. Now every channel uses 'Khabar'. Watch any Hindi movie...and you know what I mean. In 15 minutes you will catch at least 50 non-Hindi words - ones which are NOT naturally imported so far (I am not talking about Dunia and Maja and Kamij).
- Indian Corporates and business houses have adopted English not just as the commercial language, but even as cultural language. Logos, icons, what not.
- So far, till a couple of decades back, English was only one of the main languages of government business, others being on equal status. But now, English has become practially THE language, slowly becoming the ONLY language.
- It is a riddle to me, that movie-makers make movies in Indic languages, but are seen talking mainly in English on interviews, ceremonies, debates etc.
- Several times, pure Indic languages is a matter of ridicule. Not just in films but in real life. Try saying, "vichar-vimarsha" (discussion/exchange of views) in Delhi and see how people react. In films, purish Hindi is spoken by the comic characters, and is a matter of laughter. (Contrast to the movies of Amol Palekar era, where leads spoke good Hindi). I am not sure if the same situation exists in cinema of South.
- Literature richness. Indic languages, thanfully, are still churning out very good quality, vibrant, and well-received literature, and has a very good readership. All Indic languages are doing reasonably well here.
- Make no mistake, so far, English is NOT the language of people of India.
- No English newspaper is even in the top 10 most-read papers of India. largest read Hindi paper is read by more people than the readership of all English news papers added together. Even trend is that ENglish readership is shrinking and Indic growing.
- There is a feeling amongst those who take decisions, that except for English being the 'supreme' language, there is NO road possible for India, economically. Not just knowing good english is enough, English must be the first language.
- Many in the present generation already feel the same distance from prakrit languages, as others feel from Sanskrit. More than once I was surprised to find that, for many people, understanding a doha of Kabir or a chaupai of Tulsi is almost as difficult as understanding a shloka of Gita. Some, I have met, would mistake Tulsidas' dialect of Hindi (awadhi) to Sanskrit! But such are still a minority, although growing.
What do others feel?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mind your language
LETâS just end the hypocrisy and admit it: the future of India will be written in English.
And if you are the sort who will dismiss that as elitist, stop and think again. On the contrary, English can be the architect of a more equal and egalitarian India. Unleash it from the possessive control of a privileged few, send it out into the open, and watch it become the bridge across Indiaâs class divide.
Instead, we have looked on mutely as preposterous politicians imprison its growth.
Isnât it ironic that the city that first propelled India onto the global stage is now in the news for its retreat from modernity?
High-tech Bangalore was once Indiaâs proud proof that the world is flat. Now thereâs evidence that a bulldozer ran over a few brains as well.
You all know the story: More than 200,000 English-speaking children will have to switch schools and unlearn their education. The government of Karnataka has threatened to strip 2000 schools of their legal status for violating a 1994 law that requires them to use Kannada as the primary language of instruction.Â
And, a few outraged newspaper editorials later; we have all sat back and let this happen. Perhaps itâs because we still havenât resolved our dysfunctional relationship with the English language.
Hereâs how the men who wrote our constitution saw its place in Indiaâs future: 1965 was set as the date of demise. This was the year in which English was to cease being an official language on par with Hindi. Instead it would become âan associate additional official languageâ till such time as a special committee could oversee a full transition to Hindi. Of course protests from the southern states ensured that never happened.
And nor should it. To foist a single language on a country that speaks thousands of dialects is both undemocratic and bigoted.
But does that mean that English canât be treated on par with other languages? India has fifteen recognised national languages. English is not one of them.
Why? Is it because weâre still grappling with misplaced pride? Are we reluctant to put the official stamp of Indianness on a language gifted to us by the British? Well itâs time to get over that. The English we speak and write today is as Indian as butter chicken and as global as McDonaldâs French fries. Weâve thrown the stock into our melting pot, embellished it with the spices we like and made it into a dish thatâs our very own, but just perfect for visitors as well.
In other words, Indian English is both homegrown and foreign. We speak it in our own peculiar accents, we spell differently from the Americans and we specialise in Indianisms. We are like this only.
But even so, our brand of English is, at the very least perfectly functional. Not just that: itâs our competitive edge in the global wrestling ground. We have to stop being embarrassed about English. Instead, we need to embrace it, and hold it tight. Itâs what sets us apart from the pack.
I got my wake-up call this week in Las Vegas, America. No, sadly, Iâm not gambling my savings away in the worldâs casino capital: Iâm here for Fortune magazineâs annual Most Powerful Women Summit. And India is clearly top of the mind. Chennai-born, Indra Nooyi, the new Pepsi chief, tops the charts as the worldâ most influential businesswoman. Another woman of Indian origin, Padamsree Warrior of Motorola is showcased as a ârising star.â Some of the biggest names in business- the CEOs of Xerox, MTV, Disney, Coco-Cola, Ford and Procter and Gamble are among those attending the conference -looked on in alert attention as panels debated the âthreatâ from India and China.Â
Later, when my friend Rama Bijapurkar and I spoke at a breakout session on India, many of them had the same question for us: How did we explain the inequities of Indiaâs education system? On one hand they saw an India that was the launch pad for the finest brains in the world; on the other side, here was a state that hadnât even met its targets on primary education.
We spoke about how outsourcing had subverted all the old stereotypes about India: young Indians are now teaching American high-school kids how to improve on their English grammar. Outsourced Indian tutors cost twenty dollars an hour, compared to the steep 50 dollars charged for local hires. Some of my Indian friends are even teaching the Chinese how to speak the international language of commerce.
And yet, statistically, only 5 per cent of India is considered proficient at English. Can you imagine how the global power-equations would collapse and change if those numbers grew?Â
Talking to the women business leaders at this summit got me thinking. What is the one thing that distinguishes public schools from government-run schools in India?
Itâs the quality of English. We have kept English wrapped up in soft-tissue paper, accessible only to the privileged. Is it because we recognise that English is the fastest vehicle of upward mobility? And the status quo is more comfortable for those of us who have it good anyway?
Dalit writer Kancha Ilaiah has long argued that quality is even more crucial than quotas. His demand: English-medium primary schools for Dalits across villages and cities. English, he says, is the difference between the haves and the have-nots. And so it is.
PepsiCo Chief Indra Nooyi graduated from an Indian Institute of Management. Padamsree Warrior wears her IIT tag proudly and publicly. What leverage would these women have had in the gladiatorial fight for corporate mindspace, if they didnât speak English?
When we travel outside India, we like to talk of ourselves as a global powerhouse. We always gloat about the skilled workforce available in our country at competitive rates. And we are acutely offended by the patronising foreigners who compliment us for speaking English âso well.â
But back home we sneer at those who canât speak English as glibly as us. And we do precious little to change that. Once, I was trying to explain to a friend, the difference between my competence in Hindi and English. I said, I can speak in Hindi, but I dream in English. Now I wonder: is it a dream we are too greedy to share?
Barkha Dutt is Managing Editor of NDTV 24x7. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
She quotes Kancha Ilaiah. Well, so much the worse for these idiots.
Bodhi, here are some problems:
1. The network effects: Right now, English is the language that the most prosperous portion of the world (in India, as well) speaks. So, if you learn English, you are more likely to effectively communicate with that part of the world, and prosper. You may learn Indian languages as a hobby, but that is all. There is no economic gain in the near- to medium-term.
2. Indicator of status: The economic effects resulting from point 1 are so powerful and enduring (throughout the last 75-100 years), that knowledge of English has now become an indicator of status. Earlier, speaking your mother-tongue did not hurt your marriage prospects. Soon it will, if it doesn't already.
So, there is no way you are going to get rid of English, in the near-term (next 50 years). How it will happen in the long-term, I cannot speculate. Certainly no human agency (in the sense of conscious action) can make that happen.
However, we have a more immediate task. We must keep the Indian languages alive in the medium term, and wait for the economic forces to slowly change in our favour.
IMO, <b>Govt action</b> in the following ways will help:
1. Many non-Hindi states (except TN) follow the three-language formula (Hindi, Local, English) in state schools. This puts too much pressure on the child. We are better off removing Hindi as the compulsory language, and allow the child and parents breathing room to learn the local language in full.
2. Make state boards of education mobile. That is, allow a school to have accreditation from one or more boards, including multiple state boards. That way, a school in Bombay may be able to prepare students for school-leaving exams from CBSE, Maharashtra State Board, the Gujarat state board and the Tamil Nadu state board. Gujarati students may prepare for the Gujarat state board, while Tamil students may prepare for the TN State board. (Barkha Dutt's descendants can do the CBSE, with "Advanced English" as the second language).
The above two actions will help in two ways.
One: the non-Hindi child will no longer be compelled to learn an unfamiliar Indian language. He will be allowed to learn a familiar language, the language of his forefathers.
Two: these days, when people have to often work out of their home state, they end up not learning their mother tongue at all (if they are non-Hindi). My suggestion (no 2) will ensure that some school in the city will always support the board of their home-state.
Of course, then there is <b>individual action</b>:
1.<b> Religiously teach your children the language</b>(s) you value. Engage after-school tutors, if necessary.
2. <b>Move to your home-state</b>, and enroll your children in a school in the state board. Stop worrying about economic advantage. India is doing well and things will actually get even better.
3. <b>Reproduce</b>: I realize I am sounding like a broken record now. But, if you value something that is vulnerable to network effects, like your religion, your language or even your vote-bank, remember the best gift you can give them: your children. Have multiple kids and bring them up well, and all these things will flourish.
During the Indian National Movement (INM) it was felt that a national language was needed to provide a measure of togetherness and an identifier. however 60 years since Independence have shown that Indians are held together by civilization and do not need any link language. This 'imposition' of national language has fed the centrifugal tendencies in some states.
I think by 2050 Inglish will develop as the number of speakers increases and reaches critical mass.
04-07-2007, 03:02 AM
(This post was last modified: 04-07-2007, 06:17 AM by Husky.)
This should so be a non-issue. Sadly, it's anything but.
Everyone's already stated most of what I wanted to write. I have some minor additional points to add.
It's a shame post 2's Burkha Dutt wasn't born at the right time. Methinks had she been born in the Roman era she'd have insisted that Latin would have been our saviour. Or, if only she'd been in the times of the Persian Empire, she'd have promised Bharat's salvation lay in Avestan or the later dialects. Thankfully, Burkha might just survive until tomorrow when she will be swearing by Chinese.
In any case, it seems some Indians are more willing to be clowns for the west - to be ridiculed for our inept English (and, except for a very small handful of Indian-born speakers of English, most Indians who learnt English are like me: we'll never be as good in it as the English speakers in the UK, Australia and the like) - than to be adept speakers of (several) of our languages.
I know some Chinese people who have only started learning English recently. They speak slowly and have trouble with the grammar and don't know enough of the vocabulary to form sentences comfortably. (This is of course very natural and logical, since they are in the process of learning and are doing so late in their lives, too.) The impression many ignorants get is that they are stupid or unable to speak because of how they speak English - not realising how excellent these people are in language because they excel in their own native Chinese.
Inglish is a useful word. I'm going to overuse it here. The reason I wrote the above paragraph is to indicate another reason why it is beyond foolish for us to relinquish Indian languages: with Inglish we'll always be in second place. But we will be numero uno forever in our own. There is no respect for people who are ill-conversant in any language and at best speak Inglish, which, say what you will, is merely broken English. Do we really want to be like the British colonies where they speak pidgins (at least they have more authentic claims to originality than Inglish) that merely stress how much their identity was formed by colonisation (and corresponding slavery). They had no choice. We do.
And like fools, some of us actually <i>want</i> to exchange our local languages for English - the very language of our recent oppressors too! For goodness sake, why not rewind the clock to pre-Independence time and prevent independence altogether - some 'Indians' obviously still want to be part of the British Empire and would prefer to be crushed by its heel than grow freely in our soil.
And do we really forever wish to be known as The Incompetents or The Colonised?
Indian languages are a trove of treasures. There is a great beauty, poetry, sensitivity, clarity to each one. We can't all learn all the Indian languages, but we can certainly learn our own Mother Tongue and Samskritam besides, at the very least.
If these languages of ours had belonged to the SE Asians or other people instead, our psecularists - perhaps even the apparent hopeless case Burkha - would, if they could be bothered, be insisting that the SE Asians not give up their 'beautiful languages and identity'. But when it's India, everything Dharmic is thrown to the wind and may as well perish in their opinion.
Not long ago, it was only christo converts - who were generally inept in local languages anyway, their gods being christos of foreign countries - who made argument for the 'Only-English please' case. Now the psecularists have joined the chorus. How surprising.
Post 3 (Vishwas):
I agree with most of what is written, except a small section of one paragraph:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->1. Many non-Hindi states (except TN) follow the three-language formula (Hindi, Local, English) in state schools. This puts too much pressure on the child. We are better off removing Hindi as the compulsory language, and allow the child and parents breathing room to learn the local language in full.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> Children should indeed learn their local language in full <!--emo&
--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> but three languages is not any difficulty for the vast universe of linguistic (and other learning) capability that is a child's brain. It has long been known that childhood is when children can pick up languages and become proficient in them (one can even <i>think</i> naturally in them when learnt at a young age, or so it is argued). After about age 15, all languages one starts learning will be imperfect, unless one has a photographic memory or whatever.
Do not forgo the opportunity to start bringing your children up with all the languages you want them to know. They will complain a bit now and thank you later. Trust me.
However, I agree that Hindi should not be the second Indian language that Dharmic Indian children should learn, since Hindi is the local language of one part of India. It has no more particular significance to non-Hindi speaking India than, say, Bengali or Kashmiri would.
The second Indian language should be Samskritam (Jains should have the choice between Samskritam and the Prakritam their works are written in). The third can be English or whatever else might be en vogue then.
For some Indians, English might have to even be the 4th language, like the Tulu-speaking population of Karnataka: in their case it would be Mother Tongue (Tulu), local language (Kannadam), Samskritam and then English. But they have no problems in this regard, most of them have already been learning two or three of these four languages, and others even all four.
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Jayalalitha to make Hindi speech in UP
Saturday, April 07, 2007
New Delhi: In a "revolution" of sorts, former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa will address a rally in Uttar Pradesh in Hindi on Sunday to become the first top Tamil Nadu leader to bridge the north-south language divide.
Jayalalitha's speech in the town of Bareilly in the company of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and others will mark a major leap from those tumultuous times when Tamil Nadu rose in frenzy against Hindi.
Although Jayalalithaa is fluent in Hindi besides half a dozen other languages, including English, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada, no political leader of repute from Tamil Nadu has addressed a rally in the Hindi heartland.
"It is a revolution," said K. Malaisamy, a Rajya Sabha member of Jayalalithaa's AIADMK party. "It goes to our leader's credit that she has been invited to address the people in Uttar Pradesh and it is also to the credit of Tamil Nadu and Tamil people," Malaisamy told IANS here.
The Sunday meeting in Bareilly, about 250 km from here, will bring together Jayalalithaa, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Om Prakash Chautala, Asom Gana Parishad leader Brindaban Goswami and former external affairs minister K. Natwar Singh.
All of them, mostly regional satraps, are using the Uttar Pradesh electoral battle that began Saturday to flex their muscles ahead of the next parliamentary elections due in two years.
But it will mark a watershed in India's polity where the Hindi-Tamil clash of the 1960s - also the decade when the DMK officially gave up its separatist plank - has given way to growing assimilation of different ethnic groups in a larger federal entity despite continuing hiccups.
On Sunday, Jayalalithaa, whose relations are soured with both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will fly out of Chennai to New Delhi and then take a helicopter to Bareilly. After the public rally, she will return to Chennai via New Delhi.
Further, Jayalalithaa will address another election rally in Allahabad April 12, also in the company of Mulayam Singh Yadav, urging the people of the state to vote for his Samajwadi Party in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
04-07-2007, 08:22 PM
(This post was last modified: 04-07-2007, 09:12 PM by Bharatvarsh.)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->- Several times, pure Indic languages is a matter of ridicule. Not just in films but in real life. Try saying, "vichar-vimarsha" (discussion/exchange of views) in Delhi and see how people react. In films, purish Hindi is spoken by the comic characters, and is a matter of laughter. (Contrast to the movies of Amol Palekar era, where leads spoke good Hindi). I am not sure if the same situation exists in cinema of South.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
It's the same, in todays Telugu movies they won't come out with a single sentence without an English word in there if the movie is in urban setting even when there are perfectly good native words like mitrudu/snehitudu for friend or santosham/anandam for happy. I realised only recently and have started reorienting myself towards shudh Telugu, thankfully most of the shudh Telugu words are in common usage among villagers so there isn't much ridicule unless it's very rare words like grandhalayam for library or vaidyasala for hospital.
But I have no doubt that at this rate the doom of Indian languages is not very far off, there is no development at all in the languages just passive adoption of English words, how come there is no committee appointed for these languages to see if they can come up with native equivalents (using Sanskrit as the base) for new technology like computer, internet and so on.
Till 1800's Hindus sucked up to Persian or Urdu, now they suck up to English, the languages will only survive as long as rural India does not adopt Hinglish, Tenglish (Telugu+English) and so on.
A lot of elite Indians are wannabe cool yaar types, most can't even speak proper English and will be made fun of if they talk like that in N.America but they put in more English words in Telugu than me even though I can speak English without any accent, that's the funny thing, the impression I get (of my own parents included) is that they know neither language but seem to think they will become polygots by mixing English with Telugu and speaking Tenglish, speak your mother tongue like it is supposed to be spoken, that's the biggest favor these English educated Indians can do for themselves cuz when I hear stuff like "tu believe karta?" instead of "tu vishwas karta?" I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
For the unity of bhArata I believe we need a common language/s. We are able to share our commonality and disagreements because of the medium of English. If each of us started talking in different Indic languages the level of understandability will definitely drop. Not everyone understands all Indic languages. Even closely related sister languages like Hindi and Marathi or Tamil and Telugu are not 100% mutually intelligble. Again, I believe it is good to encourage and develop pan-Indianism rather than regionalism- only then will we be able to militarily protect our cultural and religious interests against our enemies within and without. Enforcing local languages in schools is problematic at different levels: 1) it fosters regionalism by making it difficult for people to move from one part of India to another. 2) It places road blocks in smooth pan-national exchange. 3) It actually destroys the indic linguistic diversity by forcing an artificial normative form of the regional language. For example Bhojpuri, Avadhi Pahadi etc are not normative Hindi. Likewise in the south there are different dialects of tamil and not the one drAviDa bhASha which avoids Indo-Aryan words. 4) A person knowing only a regional language is likely to be limited in his vision of the wider world simply because richness of thought comes from having an inclusive vocabulary over a wider horizon. 5) As mentioned earlier in this thread it encourages a multi-language curriculum which makes it hard on the child in a competitive educational setting like India.
So what is the solution? <!--emo&:unsure:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/unsure.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='unsure.gif' /><!--endemo-->
We need not dump English and the same time we need not worship it. Just use it for what it is worth. As for pan-Indian communication we already had a language which was our unifier and the bearer of Indic culture, which in its very name tell us a lot. saMskR^ita. We may want to restore it to its original role. Prof. Raghuvira, the great nationalist scholar of Indic lore (father of the great Lokeshchandra) had worked shortly after Independence to come up with a complete vocabulary for the modern era using saMskR^ita- it dealt with things like scientific, economic and political nomenclature. Why was this scheme relegated to the shelf rather than developed? I feel all our hopes will bear some fruit only if India breaks free from the shackles of secularism and becomes bhArata governed by dharma. This of course takes us to a bigger problem.
As for local languages- they are best handled by teaching children at home (after all these are mother tongues) rather than forcing it in the exam curriculum. Alternatively it could be taught in schools more as a language speaking and communication module for practical rather than examination purposes.
Finally it may also make sense for at least the Indo-Iranian and Dravidian languages of India having a common script based on Nagari or Brahmi. I strongly believe that Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic languages of India should also be accomodated within this script, but this would need more study.
04-08-2007, 07:31 AM
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2007, 07:32 AM by Husky.)
Post 7 (Bharatvarsh):
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I realised only recently and have started reorienting myself towards shudh Telugu,<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->That is just awesome. Do you read a lot of Telugu novels and poetry? When people do that, their language will sky-rocket and they'll become far more than a very skilled speaker in it. They'll be someone who can use it build their own ideas or creative content. It becomes a living language again - alive rather than merely maintained.
My mother used to read lots of old Tamil novels, but there are no such books available here. She is rather sad about that, but keeps rereading the little she owns.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->when I hear stuff like "tu believe karta?" instead of "tu vishwas karta?" I don't know whether to laugh or cry.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Perhaps you can better their use of the language indirectly by talking in Shudh Telugu throughout, no matter how they respond. At least they'll pick up new words and associated usage context from you.
A Kannadiga girl I know did the same to some classmates of her relative, all Bangalorean university students. They pride themselves on not knowing Kannada and on their English, which is actually not very good I'm told. She only spoke in Kannada to them (although her English is wonderful) because she was in her home state and did not want to miss the opportunity of speaking her language. The students didn't know how fast to better their Kannada. Even allowing that they might have done so mostly to impress her (she is remarkably beautiful), for whatever reason, it had some positive result.
Lots of unrelated things:
(1) I have observed that when people are not good in their own language (the language of the first 10 years of their childhood), they are unable to pick up other languages well. All later language learning becomes imperfect, incomplete, because subsequent languages (as opposed to concurrent ones) are learned based on the first one.
When people are trying to find words to express something - when they're 'thinking' in their languages - they can only do so if they are somewhat good at it. If you're not good enough at the first, then how do you translate something into another language or even learn to think properly in the second?
In India, even when they teach 'English' as the only language at school (like in my LKG, where it was English-Only and the penguin teachers would also beat you if you spoke to each other in Tamil; as we didn't know English at all, we kept quiet) the English is so poor that in their only language the teachers and their charges become deficient. It is really sad.
Fortunately, in our case, we had Tamil parents who would speak to us in Tamil and teach it in that way.
(2) This probably doesn't include you, but most Indians including Indian 'teachers' of English have learnt to speak and write in it so as to consistently make certain mistakes. It turns out that that funny and well-known sentence structure with 'onlee' is but one of several that we do. A Scottish friend pointed out to me about how even very good English-speakers from India make certain subtle mistakes that easily indicate where they're from. The other ones seemed rather normal to me (maybe that's why I can't recall them). But they're grammatically wrong sentences in actual English, it seems.
When our teachers don't know proper English, they shouldn't really be teaching it. And certainly not as the only language.
(3) I watched a British documentary on the English language. It was very informative and well-made. It had a lot about how the language was formed, how it originated in the 5th century as well as its future: with examples like how English is becoming very common in Singapore but it's not always intelligible to other English-speaking people in the world. It was rather funny to see Singaporeans speak in their English, I couldn't follow much of it. I wonder if that's how it is for others who hear many of us speak. For instance, I could barely understand Aishwarya's interview on 60 Minutes (or was it 20/20) until I got used to her way of speaking. But perhaps I prefer that to L Dutta's pretentious and overdone Brit accent.
(4) As for Burkha Dutt, arguing for an English-Only future for India as she did, I wish she would move to Germany, France, the Netherlands or Belgium and contend the same but about those countries. She'd be censured in those countries as soon as she uttered those words and rightly so. They are very, very proud of their languages - they have every right to be, who else but they would wave their flag? - and rather resent the intrusions made by English.
Netherlands is the most accomodating of the three, allowing many English words that have entered their language to be spelled as they are in English; the Flemish part of Belgium spell those English words according to Dutch phonetics (for example, I read a Flemish-Dutch article with 'kompjoeter' for computer) and the Germans will only allow any English word to be the sole option if they absolutely cannot find/create a German equivalent to be used more commonly.
The German and the French are the most resistant to English, with the French the most antagonistic to and resentful of English intrusion.
The Netherlands subtitles all English language films except those meant for children (Belgium and the Netherlands produce separate Dutch dubs for the same moview, to allow for their two different dialects), Germany and France dub every film whether it's for kids or adults, and regardless of that English films don't even do too well in France in the first place. The French are very proud of their own language and look down on the presumptions of English.
Meanwhile, Burkha and her kind are so set in their colonial 3rd-world 2nd-hand mentality that they cannot imagine/allow any temporarily-colonised country to now re-assert its right to insist on the use of (let alone be proud of) local languages. In their perpetually colonised minds, these pseculars - imagining they had long since broken free from the shackles of 'colonialism' and even thinking they were the first to do so, hence their claim to lead the 'ignorant' Indian masses - think that relinquishing one's ancient language is a sign of progress.
They have no idea that one's own natural languages are a product of the thinking pattern of one's ancestors and nation - a development of millennia that encapsulates a people's character and evolution as far as these can be represented in language. They don't have a clue that to borrow another's language is to change to the thinking pattern of another people. This is okay when one learns an additional language. But when one entirely forgoes one's own for another people's, you're completely restricting yourself to the thought-pattern of that other people. You have in effect closed yourself off from the way your ancestors thought, explained ideas and communicated. Humans being speaking animals, in this way you are no more a product of your ancestors - yet you're not a product of that foreign language's people either. You're just someone who orphaned yourself. Not a very clever or respectable move by any population's standards.
As is recognised by all people, including the west, language is a key identifier of nations and populations. When you sign your language away, you are signing yourself away. This is okay for christoislamic converts - who had already signed themselves away in another manner, that makes dropping their ancestral language a comparatively minor change for them and a natural progression in fact.
But for Dharmics in India to drop Indian languages in favour of English-Only would just be the beginning of being completely uprooted.
Let the pseculars do this. Everyone makes fun of them as spineless try-hard-people-pleasers anyway, even in other countries, where such characters (who fit the definition of psecular to a Tee) are known as people who'd sell themselves asap, their identity included, to fit in any box.
Dharmic Indians however have no reason to follow suit.
04-08-2007, 07:51 AM
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2007, 07:59 AM by Husky.)
Post 8 (HH) has a lot of food for thought. I agree with much of what is said.
There's obviously lots of things in there I didn't even think about. Especially the various dialects of local languages, which is the mother tongue each learns from their parents and grandparents. I do very much like to hear the different Tamils when I travel to diffferent parts of the state or visit acquaintances even. <!--emo&
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But then I also like to hear the classical Sentamizh, which was recognised as the Tamil of poetry and prose. You know, the language artists' Tamil and long seen as 'the proper Tamil' of the state. I would like that to still be studied too, if Tamil people won't learn it, then who will?
So it's somewhat of a dilemma.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->As for local languages- they are best handled by teaching children at home (after all these are mother tongues) rather than forcing it in the exam curriculum. Alternatively it could be taught in schools more as a language speaking and communication module for practical rather than examination purposes.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->This is very good. It is in fact how Dutch is taught in Dutch high schools. Lots of the children spoke in their own interesting village dialects and some purposefully went into highly colloquial Dutch when mocking something.
French, English and German classes taught the standardised version of these languages. But Dutch class was all about reading Dutch poetry, prose, discussions, giving presentations on topics. Only written works and presentations required standard Dutch, other than that, they didn't enforce any particular way of speaking it. But there were exams: on the books, poetry, ideas we had to read about.
German as taught in German schools did include somewhat more of the standard form of the language.
I think the Dutch model actually solves the dilemma of the first paragraph (this post): Sentamizh can then be learnt automatically by students when they read novels and poetry in (or for) Tamil class.
But I don't rightly understand (or if I do, don't entirely agree with the following) though:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Finally it may also make sense for at least the Indo-Iranian and Dravidian languages of India having a common script based on Nagari or Brahmi. I strongly believe that Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic languages of India should also be accomodated within this script, but this would need more study.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I like the scripts we have and the fact that we have many, which is another proof of ancientry (for example, Europe only has 3).
But for those languages for which there is no script (either because they never had one or because it went extinct) it's good to adopt say Devanagari script or whatever local one covers the sounds. Tulu is a good example. They could write their local histories down in the Tulu language by choosing whatever language's alphabet is best suited to the sounds of their alphabet.
04-08-2007, 10:03 AM
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2007, 10:06 AM by Bodhi.)
Lot of inputs have been forthcoming, some very novel, some very practical.
If I may summarize, so far:
- 'National Language' notion is useless and not well-founded. It is not required (even harmful) to 'force' any one single language upon the whole nation as large and diverse as India.
- English need not be 'dumped'. In fact English is very useful. What is needed is to not allow it to become THE FIRST and PRIMARY language of education.
- Individual efforts, although useful, are not very effective. Need government initiatives. For that need political will, driven by Dharma.
- Still, needed is ONE pan-India language / government language. That language better be Sanskritam. Those with not enough self confidence will consider this impractical. But they should study the history of Israel. The early Jewish migrants spoke more than 2 dozen languages, and Hebrew was limited to rabbi-language, like Sanskrit. But will-power conquers all, and Hebrew is the language of Israel today. Other examples include Turkey, and China.
- Even historically in India, any strong Hindu samrat (like Vijayanagar, Chola, Maratha, Shahi-Nepal) has chosen Sanskrit/devanagari as the government language. It is important to remember Raja Rajendra Chol, who after conquering Sinhala and taking the title of LankA-bhU, issued coins inscripted in Sanskritam (in addition to Tamil). Shivaji emphasized on Sanskrit. Nepal's Prithvi Narayan Shah was faced with same dilemma - to use Devanagri script or Tebetan. He elected for Sanskritized Nepali in Devanagri script. Krishna Dev Rai used Sanskrit. Guru Govind Singh opted for Devanagri and propogated Sanskritized Gurmukhi.
- One generation is all it takes to learn a language (again). 20 years is all it requires. Sanskrit would be a better integrater of Indic languages. (What will Dravidists say?)
- What is also needed is some positive media projection of Indic Languages. Some strong leaders required. (I am happy to read the news that Jagran is entering now in electronic media and planning for film-making too. They just launched a new FM station called 'Radio Mantra'. It is being piloted in the town of Panipat, before they roll it out to other cities. As the name suggests, it will have a culture-based programming, and be competing with 'Red FM' of Hindustan and 'Radio Mirchi' of TOI. I hope they dont get carried away themselves in the crowd of p-secs)
04-10-2007, 02:38 AM
(This post was last modified: 06-06-2007, 08:29 PM by Bharatvarsh.)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->That is just awesome. Do you read a lot of Telugu novels and poetry? When people do that, their language will sky-rocket and they'll become far more than a very skilled speaker in it. They'll be someone who can use it build their own ideas or creative content. It becomes a living language again - alive rather than merely maintained.
My mother used to read lots of old Tamil novels, but there are no such books available here. She is rather sad about that, but keeps rereading the little she owns.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Husky I don't read novels or poetry, used to read chandamama comics and stuff, but most of shudh Telugu is in use in villages so you don't really need much reading to reorient yourself, in addition whenever I have doubts I use online Telugu dictionary to check, to give an example a lot of people use roju for day but this is from Persian roz, I just stopped using it and started using Dhinam for day (this word is still used in the Rayalaseema dialect so people understand it).
Other examples include:
research - parisodhana
message - sandesam
newspaper - vaarthaa patrika
friend - mitrudu/snehitudu/nestam
kushti (wrestling) - malla yuddham
kharidu (price) - dhara
letter - uttaram/lekha
collect - sekharinchu
shirt - chokka
bathroom - snanala gadhi
bedroom - padaka gadhi
stove - poyya
fan - pankha
floor - antasthu
All these are words where the English medium lot use those foreign words, I used to be like that but decided to stop using them, when I talk 90% of the words are pure Telugu, the rest being modern stuff for which Telugu has no words such as computer etc.
As for English, good enuf to learn for now, but can discard it when its out of vogue, people don't realise how much Indian languages have in common, I talk to a Panjabi mitra of mine and 80% of the words we look for are common to both languages because of the Sanskrit roots, I listen to this Panjabi radio station once in a while called Akash and can make out a good amount of what they say, especially when the Khalistani lot come on because they talk in more shudh Panjabi than others which means a lot of words are common to Telugu, for example they say suphul/prapt for success instead of kamyab, in Telugu we say saphalam, sadharan instead of am for common, in telugu it's sadharanam and so on.
Ultimately Sanskrit is the link language.
I don't really care what others think, I just speak Telugu the way it is supposed to be spoken, if they don't like it then too bad.
Bharatvarsh! This is awesome (adbhutam), and very inspiring (preraka)! Dhanyawaad!
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->the rest being modern stuff for which Telugu has no words such as computer etc.
computer = sangaNak
programming = progrAmaN
Several such technical words were developed in Indian languages in 70s, which while being Indic, are not very far from English. Some are popular, others not much. But its ok, I beleive for technical stuff for now. Let us first capture the 'low-hanging-fruits', as they say in English.
In the meanwhile, I notice that across different Indic languages, some of the words remain the same but change the meaning slightly. Examples:
- Avasaram in Telugu means 'need', but in Hindi and Sanskrit 'opportunity'
- Annam in Telugu means rice (and not other grains), whereas in Hindi 'anna' (and plural under Farsi influence anAj) means any food grain.
But huge majority of words are completely common (ubhaya). That is the linkage of Sanskrit the true integrator.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I don't really care what others think, I just speak Telugu the way it is supposed to be spoken, if they don't like it then too bad.
<!--emo&:bhappy--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_woot.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_woot.gif' /><!--endemo--> Way to go! I will follow (anusaraN). mahAjanAH gatAH sa panthAh: Follow the way that great people tread.
<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo--> "cool" : naisargik :-)
04-10-2007, 04:10 AM
(This post was last modified: 05-15-2007, 01:24 AM by Bharatvarsh.)
Speaking of Hindi movies, saw lage raho munnabhai recently, can safely say that the majority or near majority of the words were foreign unless it was gandhi talking, i can understand the english educated radio anchor branching off into english, but since when did gangsters begin using english words like country and so on instead of desh, there is a deliberate campaign to destroy whatever Hindi is left or else how do you explain all this needless importing of foreign words even when native languages have perfectly good words that are in active use.
Some other examples of pure Telugu words that have come to my mind include:
temperature - ushnogratha
request - vinati, vinnapam
treatment - vaidyam
team - jattu
chapter - adhyayam, parvam, skandam
sharatu (condition) - niyamam, nibhandana, aanksha
debate - tarkam
capacity - samardhyam, satta
proof - nidarsanam, aadhaaram
opinion - abhiprayam
restaurant - bhojanasala
school - badi, vidyalayam, paatasala
teacher - panthulu (male), panthulamma (female)
experience - anubhavam
salary/wage - jeetham
plan/idea - upayam
opponent - pratyardhi
opposition leader - pratipaksha nayakudu
love letter - prema lekha
politics - rajakiyyalu
shabash - bhala
minute - nimisham
second - kshanam
rainbow - indradhanussu, harivillu
number - sankya, anke
word - padham
essay - vyasam
city - nagaram, pattnam
jilla (district) - mandalam, seema
dark color - mudhuru rangu
light color - dhoora/letha rangu
guarantee (hami) - bharosa, poochi
maths tables - ekkalu
carrot - gaajara gadda
cauliflower - kosu puvvu
cabbage - kosu gadda
perimeter - chuttukolatha
advertisement - vyapara prakatana
business - vyaparam
businessman - vyaparasthudu
tension - aadurda
select/choose - empika
gift - bahumathi
birthday - janma dhinam, puttina dhinam
shelf - ataka, ara
lawyer (vaqilu) - nyayavadhi
court - nyayasthanam
tap - kulayi, nalla
job - udhyogam
mamoolu - sadharanam
important - mukhyam
decision - nirnayam
chief minister - mukhya mantri
prime minister - pradhana mantri
steel - ukku
rest - visranthi
break - viramam
kharchu (spend) - vecchhinchu, vyayaparuchu
library - granthalayam
hospital - vaidyasala, chikitsalayam
iron - inumu
bronze - kaamsyam
class/lecture - paatam
grade/class - tharagathi
exams - pareekshalu
easy - sulabham, suluvu
I put those words for any Telugu people reading because those are some of the words that people use English/Persian/Arabic words for.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->politics - rajakiyyalu<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I believe the most appropriate phrase for politics is "vedhava rAjakIyAlu".
vishwas garu that's a good one.
Bodhiji I think first as you said we have to pick out the low hanging fruits, which means using native words that are in active use in villages, I heard Atma Hatya being used for suicide in ths 90's Sunny Deol movie (Pandit Sharma I think it was called) but hear Khudhkushi in movies today, lok is a good substituite for duniya since it's even shorter, I don't know if its in use but it is used in Bhai Santokh Singh's Guru Pratap Suraj when Guru Tegh Bahadur replies to Aurangzeb, dal/sena for fauj and so on.
Another thing is look into other Hindi dialects and see if native words are used that have been replaced by foreign one's in your own dialect, where I come from people only use roju and rarely dinam, but I picked out that word from the Rayalaseema dialect.
Some version from Punjab
Light Bulb - Lattu
Key - Kunji
round - rawand
Blue - Balue
Train - gaddi.
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Mudy Kunji is from Sanskrit, blue in shudh Panjabi is nilla, round is ghera/phera, listening to Khalistani talks is a good way to pick up shudh Panjabi to a great extent <!--emo&
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The Consolidated Great English-Indian Dictionary Of Technical Terms., 6010010079331. Vira Raghu Dr. 1950. english. . 1034 pgs.
It is available here:
Type in Raghu Vira in the author section, many terms are too long, they need to be shortened in vernacular languages.
04-11-2007, 09:54 PM
(This post was last modified: 06-06-2007, 08:38 PM by Bharatvarsh.)
Some other words that have come to my mind:
time - samayam
late - alasyam
date (tarikhu) - tedhi
diversity - vaividyam, bhinnatvam, vibhinnam
democracy - prajatantram
life insurance - jeevitabheema
follow - anusarinchu, vembhadinchu
rule - niyamam
inspiration - spoorthi, prerana
participate - palgonu
aspiration/ambition/goal - abhilasha, aasayam, lakshyam
register - namodhu
bullets - gullu
example - udhaharana
solution - parishkaram
wait - vechivundu, eduru choodu, nirikshinchu
sweets - mithailu
discussion - charcha
rest - visranthi
break - viramam
machine - yantram
translation - anuvadam
dictionary - nighantuvu, kosham
thayaru - siddham
station - kendram, thana
office - karyalayam
gravitation - gurutvakarshana sakti
division - bhagaramu
multiple - guninchu
maths - lekkalu, ganitham
loose - vadulu
tight - biguthu
script - lipi
painter - chitrakaarudu