Monday, March 12, 2007

Will my language become extinct?

Many people speaking many languages and belonging to many cultures are asking this question. No language or culture would really disappear. They may at best undergo a big change whereby become hard to identify. Like the Ranga who turned Ringa in Mauritius

The language that remains will sound some thing different for those who know the present form of it. Same is the case with any vernacular world over.

It is the tongue, style, traditions and practices that make a culture. They continue for generations and give an identity to a group. People very proudly claim they belong to a particular culture or a language group. They take pleasure in speaking the language wherever they are. All this depends on the memory and intellect of the people.

We remember the festivals had their own distinct identity in the past. Now, particularly in cities all of them are celebrated in the same fashion and perhaps with the same food. Those who have not witnessed the diversity of the past can even feel the number of festivals redundant. They do not remember and distinguish one from the other.
They refuse to equate the new ethos with that they knew.

We can not even complain against them. After all they are also true. There are many standards for the diversity in a culture. One of them is the religion. Language is perhaps the most important.

We can even say the change in the language is a pointer to the change in the culture.

Some languages are spreading like the plague of the yore. There are many who do not have an idea about this word plague. In the name of science knowledge, business, politics, and the universalisation or is it globalisation, English is spreading dramatically. The other languages are receding equally fast. There are around 6000 languages spoken around the globe at present. It is estimated that half of them would not last till the next decade. This fact is corroborated by the officials of the trust looking after the languages threatened with extinction. Half of the languages are spoken by less than ten thousand people each. Such of them will disappear very easily. A quarter of the present languages are spoken by only a thousand each. They are as good as gone.

We must be aware that none of the Indian languages fall under these categories. People speaking Maori dialect in New Zealand have opened special schools to spread their language.

There are many, complaining about the disappearance or the changes in Telugu or other Indian languages. As long as you also share such a feeling your mother tongue will never disappear.

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