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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My 20 point observations on languages.


My 20 point observations on languages.

Do you agree? If not place your comments?

It applies to all languages though primarily it is a reaction to the message heighted in yellow [ in Tamil] which I received this morning.

Interesting! Didn't know these words existed!  
தமிழில் டீக்கு "தேநீர்',
காபிக்கு "குளம்பி' என்று
பெரும்பாலோருக்குத் தெரியும்.
மற்ற சில முக்கியமான உணவு
பொருட்களின் தமிழ்ப்பெயர்கள் அறிவோம்!

சப்பாத்தி - கோந்தடை
புரோட்டா - புரியடை
நூடுல்ஸ் - குழைமா
கிச்சடி - காய்சோறு, காய்மா
கேக் - கட்டிகை, கடினி
சமோசா - கறிப்பொதி, முறுகி
பாயசம் - பாற்கன்னல்
சாம்பார் - பருப்பு குழம்பு, மென்குழம்பு
பஜ்ஜி - தோய்ச்சி, மாவேச்சி
பொறை - வறக்கை
கேசரி - செழும்பம், பழும்பம்
குருமா - கூட்டாளம்
ஐஸ்கிரீம் - பனிக்குழையம், பனிக்கூழ்/பனிக்களி
சோடா - காலகம்
ஜாங்கிரி - முறுக்கினி
ரோஸ்மில்க் - முளரிப்பால்
சட்னி - அரைப்பம், துவையல்
கூல்ட்ரிங்க்ஸ் - குளிர் குடிப்பு
பிஸ்கட் - ஈரட்டி, மாச்சில்
போண்டா - உழுந்தை
ஸர்பத் - நறுமட்டு
சோமாஸ் - பிறைமடி
பப்ஸ் - புடைச்சி
பன் - மெதுவன்
ரோஸ்டு - முறுவல்
லட்டு - கோளினி
புரூட் சாலட் - பழக்கூட்டு
-----------------------------------------------------
தவறுகள் இருப்பின் சுட்டிக்காட்டி திருத்தவும்

Actually better off not knowing.

1] Reality is every language has grown enormously in stature due to some unique reason.

2] At a specific period in time because of the impact that the people using the language had on humanity languages have grown in importance.

3] The literature / scripts produced through that language were in great demand at a particular time for various reasons.

4] People manning the knowledge industry were using only  a particular language.

5] People needed to use a particular language at specific junctures for better survival.

6] All of a sudden a language spurred into prominence due to the predominance/ domination  of the people speaking that language in human activity.

7] With little bit of thinking you can conjure up examples and justifications for each of the above statements starting from the popularity of Sanskrit to Latin to growth of English, French, German to the demand for learning Chinese now.

8] Narrowing down the discussion to Tamizh [Tamil] language, which is the topic of discussion here, it was primarily rich in literature and vocabulary , mostly to do with spirituality, religion, hero worship or sycophancy [ the court poets praising the kings], preaching socio morals as an important part of religious way of living and many sciences which have lost their popularity like astrology, Sidha vaidyam, Siddhar padalkal [ occult experiences/observations of spiritually enlightened persons] etc along with the inevitable vocabulary meant to convey the native cultures and traditions which again were interwoven with activities indicated above. After castrating the language of its intrinsic ingredients how can you expect it to live energetically and dynamically?

9] Definitely no language has or can be expected to invent vocabulary for discoveries, trends, new commercial activities etc that are likely to happen at a future date at some part of the world which uses a totally different language.

10] But what any language which expects to survive and grow in stature can do/does is to adopt the word assigned to the new discovery in the language of land of discovery or the discoverer or  if more keen on developing its [particular language’s]  own status is to coin a word based on a very meaningful/relevant root so that there is an etymological reference and recognition of that word easily and while doing this one must pay attention to the nuances of synonyms to avoid misleading  connotations and also ensure to avoid ambiguity especially those which can lead to vulgar interpretation etc.

11] For example neither Tamil nor any of the languages in India could be said to have had vocabulary a century back for cyber activities, or in 15th century for aerial motored vehicles or submarines or optic fibre cables, please do not presume that I am trying to ill treat any Indian language on comparison with any foreign language.

12] I am equally aware that  on the flip side the western culture being psychologically forced to get obsessed with[ either  because of religion or  through socio-religio morals] SIN so much that they have never bothered to come with a word equivalent to PUNYA , the exact opposite of SIN. None of the words like virtue, good deed or salvation can be equated with PUNYA.


13] The Eskimos are said have more than 60 plus words for different forms of ice/ snow because it is a necessity as people living in Megalaya in India have many verbs for clouds and different types of grass as the clouds keep moving over the top the roofs, inside the house and they use different types of grass to soak the wetness caused by constant rains. [ incidentally the soft material used in broom stick all over the world are from a specific grass grown in Megalaya]. The word Megalaya itself means ‘cloud inside the rooms’ megam [cloud] aalayam [ inside]. 

14] All languages and words in all languages have a life of their own both meaning wise and vibration wise. So there is nothing wrong in using words from a foreign language as it is rather than distorting our own vocabulary according to the whims and fancies of a few linguistic fanatical academicians.

15] Similarly if the extensive usage of a particular language has gone out of vogue for some reason, probably and perhaps the usage of that language has fulfilled its purpose and has decided to give room for  the new languages which have come up to serve a new purpose in the present context.

16] Evolution need not necessarily always work through proliferation in all areas of life nor can we restrain variety through homogenization. In certain spheres evolution reduces the number of entities and this has been the case especially in languages which have been reduced from a few thousands some centuries back to a few hundreds now as it is perhaps a sign of bringing in as many people together through lesser number of  medium of communication.

17] So we would be better off adopting certain words from foreign languages rather than trying hard to resurrect some obscure vocabulary or coin words that are not  justifiable etymologically or likely to cause incorrigible ambiguity   



18] Coffee is Kottai vadineer kuzhambi-  it sounds as if some drink extracted after squeezing the balls of a goat.

Telegram is munda koovi - sounds awkward heard from far.

Deputy engineer  small irrigation - is thunai siruneerperunar -it really stinks.

19] புரூட் சாலட் - பழக்கூட்டு

Even here I can find fault kootu is compound kalavai is mixture. The synonyms matter a lot here.

In fruit salad it is random mixture of fruits and not any specific quantity of each fruit.

Where is when we mix cement and sand as per exact proportion in construction we say in Tamil manal simentu kalavai there it should be kootu.

20] We have allowed the gems of our language along with its culture to fade away due to politics; we have allowed the true history of our land to be substituted by false stories; we have forgotten the traditions which have carried in them eternally intrinsic values for life in all its three major aspects body, mind and soul; we have not bothered to document the scientific discoveries made by our forefathers; we have failed miserably to protect and promote things of which we must be proud of , so what is the point in parading words which have faded into obscurity.



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