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Wednesday, March 22

With language we lose !

This post is in response to the comment by Ankur on the last post.

I am not at all saying that the people asking those question are superficial. But all this redundant communication doesn't even ring a bell anymore and the instances on which it leads to further things, are going down sharply. After throwing that trendy question and getting the trendy reply, half of the time none of the persons involved have any idea what to say next. I believe that many times it is not the lack of things to talk but our decreasing powers of engaging in a meaningful interaction.

And partial blame for this goes to the language. Why do people learn English? For money, for wealth. The biggest "economic" power of modern India is its army of English speaking graduates. English is valuable to people not because they find it very apt for their expressions, but because it represents status, it represents whatever is modern, whatever is chic and because it brings in money. And before we realize, we start living according to the language. The close relationship between language and society works both ways. Suddenly words like Holi and Diwali find themselves in alien lands often tagged with phrases like "festival of colors" and "festival of lights". And while the most frontline things are able to push their way into the new language, a lot more just drops out and we don't realize. The customs are mapped to the words in the new language and first they lose their context and then the meaning.

And this lack in the medium of expression seeps back and becomes the lack of things to be expressed eventually. Of course all this is much more complex than this simple explanation.

May be I am being too paranoid but if you see around yourself, you will find your language representing not you but a projection of you on an alien culture.

1 comment:

Braveheart said...

Absolutely!
I wonder if one can ever disagree upon the fact that language and culture are inseparably connected. Through language you understand culture; through language, you also corrupt culture.

Guests are to be entertained in the guest rooms. You allow them access to your bedroom and next you know, you might end up fathering their children. It's not the same thing...is it?

-- Akshaya